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Ecological Projects >> Truckee River >> Geomorphic Assessment and Preliminary Restoration Design

Project:  Lower Truckee River Geomorphic Assessment and Preliminary Restoration Design

Client:  United States Army Corps of Engineers

Date:  2002 – 2004

Site Location:  Lower Truckee River from Vista to Pyramid Lake, NV.

Bands of cottonwoods follow channel meanders on the lower Truckee River, 1998.
Bands of cottonwoods follow channel meanders on the lower Truckee River, 1998.
Project Summary:
Otis Bay completed a watershed-scale ecologic, geomorphic, hydrologic, and restoration assessment from Vista to Pyramid Lake, Nevada to identify sites suitable for future restoration and habitat enhancement activity.  Restoration along the Truckee River was proposed for the purposes of increasing riparian forest, re-establishing lost wetlands, enhancing wildlife habitat, improving water quality, creating better fish passage and aquatic habitat, and reducing potential flood impacts downstream of Reno and Sparks.  Extensive studies and investigations were made to determine past activities that impacted ecological river function.  Studies revealed patterns and trends of ecological decline such as:  1) large-scale geomorphic and channel pattern changes; 2) declines of river-dependent species such as the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, endangered cui-ui, and multiple amphibians and birds; 3) increases in non-native or disturbance-tolerant wildlife species; 4) declines in native riparian cottonwood-willow forest canopy; 5) increases in noxious weed cover; 6) dramatic differences between magnitude, timing, frequency, and duration of managed flows relative to the natural flow regime below Derby Dam; 7) limitations for sediment supply and transport; 8) increases in flood magnitudes in channelized river sections; and 9) increased water temperatures.

To initiate ecosystem recovery of the lower Truckee River, Otis Bay developed flow regime and restoration recommendations.  Flow regime recommendations incorporated knowledge of the natural flow regime, wildlife habitat needs, and sediment transport dynamics to create variable wet or dry year flow recommendations designed to sustain riverine recovery.  Preliminary restoration designs were also presented for geomorphic river segments on the lower river.

Project Update:
A final report was submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2004 and serves as a valuable reference for ongoing Truckee River restoration projects.

Journal Report Samples:

Flows for Floodplain Forests:  A Successful Riparian Restoration

Managing River Flows to Restore Floodplain Forests

Changes in the bird community of the lower Truckee River, Nevada, 1868-2001

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