The Truckee River Articles: © Bruce Bledsoe

[The following articles, written by  long-time Reno Gazette-Journal Newspaper Editor Bruce Bledsoe, are gradually being linked to our website.  Please bear with us as we add these insightful Truckee River articles on topics from river restoration to atmospheric “rivers” to flood walls.  Bruce will soon have his own website with each of these articles available for reading as well as many others on the Truckee River.  Bruce’s honors include being inducted into the Nevada Press Corps’ Newspaper Hall of Fame along with other famous Nevada journalists like Mark Twain, Dan DeQuille, and (former Governor and newsman) Mike O’Callahan.  All articles are © Bruce Bledsoe, 2014]
  • ACTIVISTS: THE TRUCKEE RIVER YACHT CLUB  … Part lobbyist, part community instructor, part historian and part current-events reporter, it was important not just for itself but for the tireless and passionate efforts of its members. They were active not just in the club but as individuals in numerous movements and organizations fighting to return the Truckee to a more natural state. Susan Lynn, who would serve as commodore for the first twelve years, recalled how the “club” came into being:   More …
  • JEFFREY MOUNT’S SEMINAL FLOOD-CONTROL BOOK  … Mount’s book was disseminated and sold in Washoe County through the efforts of the Truckee River Yacht Club; Mount himself spoke at one of the organization’s annual informational seminars. He was a young geology professor at the University of California, Davis who argued passionately that the traditional method of flood control—confining rivers to narrow, unnatural channels—was a fool’s game …  More …
  • PROTECTING THE FLOODPLAIN: TAKINGS AND REGULATIONS … To keep flood control effective and to prevent a sharp escalation of monetary loss from later floods, the project has to be protected from subsequent development in the floodplain that will exacerbate flooding, worsening it in the construction area and quite possibly expanding it to other areas as well. To do this, however, a government needs to demonstrate quite a bit of gumption in the face of vigorous legal actions by landowners and developers. Much of this opposition centers around what are called “takings.” More…
  • FLOOD-CONTROL PROJECTS: 1950s THROUGH THE 1960s  … In the early twentieth century, Truckee Meadows residents talked sporadically about constructing a flood-control project along the Truckee River, but they were lulled by the lack of a truly damaging flood and—equally compelling—deterred by the considerable expense. All this changed in November 1950 when the worst flood in recorded history slammed through the Reno-Sparks region. Reno Mayor Francis “Tank” Smith quickly invited community leaders to a strategy session, and on November 29, a construction proposal was approved … More… 
  • THE FLOODWALLS: EARLY AND FOREVER … Of the making of books, wrote Ecclesiastes, there is no end. One could say the same of floodwalls along the nation’s rivers. They are beloved by engineers seeking to protect communities from surging water. Only dredging and levying leaves the engineers so enthralled, even after so many of the walls have been topped, breached, or destroyed, leaving astonished communities once again flooded … More… 
  • BOISE: THE LONG HAUL MADE GOOD … The now famous Boise greenbelt was conceived in 1964 when a consultant suggested creating a natural ribbon of public land along the river that flowed through the heart of town. The river, dirty and neglected—as rivers tended to be in those days—was less a shining piece of nature than a garbage can where residents dumped their trash, industries distributed their waste, and even raw sewage could be seen drifting past. But the consultant’s suggestion came at the right time—the dawn of the environmental era in America … More…
  • RESTORATION: PROLOGUE AND THE LOWER REACHES TO DERBY … In the late twentieth century and the early twenty-first, various groups, organizations and governments worked to restore parts of the Truckee River, its tributaries and wildlife to a more natural state, akin to what they were before the white man arrived. These groups sought to undo, as much as possible, damage done by logging, ranching, and the straightening and dredging done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1959 to 1968 during a flood-control project. … considerable potential remained for “re-naturalization.” What could be changed would be … More…
  • RESTORATION: EPILOGUE … In the second decade of the twenty-first century, almost wherever one looked, from the trampled meadows and silted streams of the Sierra to the depleted fishway of Pyramid Lake, organizations and individuals were hard at work undoing 150 years of decimation wrought upon the Truckee River by indifferent, greedy, and shortsighted humanity.  … More…

Bruce Bledsoe has produced a comprehensive look at the Truckee River.  His work will be available soon.  Click here to see his complete Table of Contents of his upcoming Truckee River series.

All articles are © Bruce Bledsoe 2014.  Used here with permission.

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