One Truckee River Day, Two Large Impacts

With over 500 volunteers and 10 work sites it can be said that Sunday’s 20th Annual Truckee River Day was a success. The Truckee River Watershed Council is a local non-profit that leads volunteers around the Truckee River Watershed on a variety of restoration projects. These projects range from a variety of streambank stabilizations to forest restoration, all while helping the larger watershed.

Jammer Chair and Aspen Restoration TeamOn Sunday I was placed on the Jammer Chair Project. We met a group of around 15 people at the end of the pavement by Stampede Reservoir. Through the mud from a recent storm three off-road vehicles traveled another hour, through the meadows and valleys of the Upper Little Truckee watershed, before arriving to the Jammer Chair site a project that the US Forest Service has been working to restore.

Jammer Chair Stream and Aspen Restoration is a project the US Forest Service has been working on to restore legacy logging roads in two locations to improve hydrologic function, provide erosion prevention, and restore aspen groves. Before the construction project began, an old logging road was causing degradation of the stream channel. The project re-contoured the stream channel and infilled the existing channel with native materials to create swales to convey the upstream drainage across the abandoned restored segment all intended to re-water the adjacent swale/ stringer meadow.

The job on Sunday of the volunteers was to seed and cover the freshly turned soil from the re-contoured channel with pine needles so the seedlings can take route to stabilize the banks and promote a natural floodplain. As a team we worked for a little over 3 ? hours covering a site of about the length of a football field. The US Forest Service could not have been more grateful for the help and with the manpower were able to call the project complete. Later that afternoon the groups then all reconvened at the Granite Flat campground for snacks and to learn about what other projects which took place that morning.

Truckee River Day was a great experience and, having grown up in the area, is one that I have taken part of on an off since I was very young. Volunteering on projects like these is a great addition to the current project which I am currently working on here at SBC.

Thanks to a temporary grant I am working to create a water project database. The purpose of the position is to research and input projects like the Jammer Chair Stream and Aspen Restoration project that are currently seeking funding across the Sierra Nevada. The database consists at this time of close to 500 projects, some including Truckee River Watershed Council proposals as well as a variety of other projects from similar agencies and districts spanning the Sierra Nevada watersheds. The goal is to highlight the water storage solution projects that work to restore natural hydrologic functions and increase water storage in a natural function as opposed to large dam development. As many of you know, California passed a new water bond known as Prop 1 this past year, awarding up to $7.12 Billion dollars in water projects. What projects receive funding can vary across the state ranging from Bay area Delta restoration to Los Angeles Dam development, but our goal is to direct those funds towards the Sierra Nevada and towards restorative projects like these.

You too can support your community and local watershed by participating in events like Truckee River Day and by letting your representatives know that you want to see Prop 1 funding come to your region’s shovel-ready water projects. My experience on Sunday and throughout my time at SBC has shown me, once again, the benefits of knowing you’re making an impact.