The project area is in the Truckee River watershed, on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. Coldstream Canyon is located in Donner Memorial State Park, adjacent to the Town of Truckee. Current land uses in the canyon include recreation, railroad corridor, timber harvest in the upper watershed, and residential development.
Stressors within the watershed are the legacy effects from grazing, railroad construction, channel crossing and straightening, gravel mining and an extensive road network. In the mid-1800’s, the intercontinental railroad was constructed in the canyon, disrupting the hydrology of the streams, meadows and wetlands. Extensive logging started in this era and continued through the 1980’s, creating a large network of roads, skid trails and landings. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Cold Creek was channelized to accommodate gravel mining for the construction of I-80. Today the majority of the canyon is under the management of the U.S.F.S. Tahoe National Forest and California State Parks.
We completed a watershed assessment in 2006 which prioritized several restoration opportunities. In partnership with California State Parks, we completed a pilot restoration project on a historic gravel pond, creating additional wetlands and aquatic habitat. Volunteers helped to complete this project as part of Truckee River Day 2008.
In 2012 we began restoration of the lower alluvial fan, in partnership with California State Parks. The stream was channelized through this reach to accommodate gravel mining. The channelization led to incision and severe erosion. The restoration project will reduce pollution from excess sediment by:
- Creating 0.8 acres of floodplain in the currently incised channel;
- Removing 4,995 tons of fine sediment from eroding streambanks, which is estimated to translate to an annual load reduction of 200 tons for the 20 year life of the TMDL;
- Re-grading stream banks to sustainable slopes along 1,035 feet of stream channel;
- Increasing existing riparian habitat from approximately 1.5 acres to 2.3 acres;
- Improving hydrologic function through the project reach to restore natural process and reduce risk of future downstream erosion.
Funding for this project comes from (listed in alphabetical order):
- California Natural Resources Agency
- California State Parks
- California State Water Resources Control Board
- Overall Foundation
- Sierra Nevada Conservancy
- Truckee River Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada
- Donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council