Uncontrolled real estate development in the 20th century destroyed much of the Upper Truckee Marsh through dredging and filling. Poorly designed civil engineering then channelized the Upper Truckee River as it nears Lake Tahoe, further undermining its health..
The California Tahoe Conservancy plans to begin construction in 2020 to restore over 250 acres of floodplain by returning a portion of the river flows to the center of the Marsh. The Conservancy will also create wetlands by removing fill material near the Tahoe Keys.
Restoring the Marsh will improve water quality and enrich native fish and bird habitat. The Marsh will act as a natural pollution filter, removing fine sediment from the water before it reaches Lake Tahoe. It will also be more resilient to droughts, flooding, and other climate change impacts. The Conservancy will also enhance public access and recreation opportunities in the northwest corner of the Marsh.
On November 25, 2019, the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) awarded $2.98 million to the Conservancy to help restore the Upper Truckee Marsh, the largest wetland in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“We’re grateful to the Wildlife Conservation Board for its support,” said Conservancy Board Chair and City of South Lake Tahoe representative Brooke Laine. “This new funding closes a gap for one of the most important environmental restoration projects in Lake Tahoe’s history.”
This WCB grant provides a critical portion of funds needed for the $10.6 million restoration project.
In addition to the Conservancy, other project funders include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The Marsh project anchors a larger interagency strategy for the Upper Truckee River. The partners’ goals include restoring the ecological integrity of the river and floodplain, while improving water quality and recreation access.
Photo of Upper Truckee Marsh courtesy of California Tahoe Conservancy.