Truckee River Flood Project May Begin This Summer

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Work could begin this summer on restoring another stretch of the Truckee River east of Reno to a more natural state as part of an overall flood control effort.

The $5.2 million project at the 102 Ranch would add two new bends, a series of riffles, nearby wetlands and native plantings over 115 acres.

Such features would provide natural places for the river to flood as part of the "living river" flood control project, while a new nature area for hiking and fishing is a side benefit.

"The 102 is just a field of tall whitetop now," said Patti Bakker, project manager for the Nature Conservancy that would be hired to transform the degraded area, including a series of gravel pits.

The Truckee River Flood Coordinating Committee recently voted to put the project, east of Tracy, on its fast-track list and also recommended the Washoe County Commission approve $3.1 million from a $4.7 million state grant for stream restoration work.

The Nature Conservancy is rounding up another $2.1 million in a desert lakes grants from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Much of the $5.2 million project is expected to qualify as a matching local share required for receiving federal funds for the Truckee River flood control project.

At the 102 Ranch, work would begin late this summer when the river is low and is expected to take two summers. Plans include a new river channel with two bends, replacing a section of straight river channel built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers years ago.

Five cobble riffles in the riverbed would be built with 25,000 tons of river rock, creating new habitat for fish. Five wetland areas would be built, reconnecting the river with its flood channel, Bakker said.

Rocks and dirt dug up in building the new section of the river would be used to help fill a number of gravel pits on the ranch and create new wetland areas, Bakker said.

The Nature Conservancy also is monitoring the restoration of the McCarran Ranch in Lockwood, and doing planning work for a similar
river project at the Mustang Ranch.

The three projects combined will restore five miles of river in the East Truckee River Canyon.

Flood control officials have identified 11 sites along the river for restoration between Lockwood and Wadsworth.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)