by Phoenix Anthony, Office Manager

Prior to the construction of Highway 267 in the 1800’s, Middle Martis Creek actively migrated among several channels in Martis Valley. When Highway 267 was constructed, the creek was confined to a single channel on the south side of the highway. The confinement of Middle Martis Creek to a single channel caused several
significant problems including:

  • Channel instability, erosion, and head-cutting in the streams and meadows of the Martis Wildlife Area;
  • Degradation of 40-plus acres of meadow and wetland habitat;
  • Moderate flows (vs. flood flows) overtopping the stream channel and flowing onto Highway 267 and eroding Sawmill Flat Road.

The Truckee River Watershed Council, along with several partners and foundations, is taking part in restoring Middle Martis Creek. The Middle Martis Restoration project will restore an appropriate portion of the flow to the north side of Highway 267, while maintaining sufficient flow on the south side to support existing wetlands and riparian areas.

Implementation of the project will be split into two seasons, beginning in 2014. When completed, the project will achieve significant watershed benefits including:

  • Restoration of historic wetlands on the north side of Highway 267;
  • Improvement in water quality through reduction of excessive sedimentation;
  • Preservation of existing wetlands and riparian areas on south side of Highway 267;
  • Elimination of erosion across the Waddle Ranch access road;
  • Protection of existing infrastructure and reducing maintenance of Highway 267, Sawmill Flat Road, and the Northstar golf course.

The Watershed Council is the lead in coordinating the project and the partners. Project partners are Caltrans, Northstar at Tahoe, Northstar Community Services District, Truckee Donner Land Trust, Truckee Tahoe Airport District , and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Thank you to our generous funders! Funding for this project comes from the donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council, the Martis Fund, the Truckee River Fund, Placer County, and the State of California.

Photo: Fill was placed in the channel during reservoir construction, causing downstream erosion. The fill will be removed during restoration to prevent future erosion from occuring. Credit: Beth Christman.