by Beth Christman, Director of Restoration Programs

The Truckee River Watershed Council, in partnership with the Truckee Donner Land Trust, is implementing restoration work in Johnson Canyon (formerly known as Negro Canyon). Heavy equipment work on the project begins Monday, Aug. 18th!

Restoration is sorely needed in Johnson Canyon. At present, during rain or snow events on bare ground, massive erosion takes place in the watershed. There is high hydrologic connectivity between the restoration project and the mainstem of Gregory Creek which flows directly to Donner Lake. Erosion in the watershed not only impacts water quality and habitat, but is also impacting the recreational road and trail network.

The first phase of restoration work will take place in the eastern half of the watershed. A watershed assessment was completed in 2008 (Negro Canyon Watershed Assessment) which identified restoration opportunities throughout the watershed. The goals of the project are to reduce erosion, improve water quality, restore habitat, and provide recreational access.

The first part of the project started earlier this year, with the completion of a new trail segment (“Upper Wendin Way”) which completes the connection from the trailhead at Donner Lake Interchange to the Donner Lake Rim Trail. The next phase of the restoration includes restoring natural drainage patterns, revegetation, and decommissioning the old erosive trail alignment.

We are starting on the restoration phase today, Monday, August 18th. There will only be limited interruptions to recreation use along the Donner Lake Rim Trail, but we ask for your patience and cooperation. We will have signs to direct users to the new trail alignment and will have temporary construction signs indicating active construction work on the existing trail. Most of the work on the active trail will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 19th.

The result will be an improvement for water quality, wildlife, and recreationists!

We invite you to participate in the restoration on Truckee River Day – Oct. 19th, 2014. Pre-registration is required and will be available on our website in early September.

Please contact Beth Christman at 530-550-8760 with any questions.

Thank you to the donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council, California Department of Water Resources, Bella Vista Foundation, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, and the Truckee River Fund.

Photo: One of the erosion sites that will be addressed by the Johnson Canyon Restoration project. Credit: Beth Christman.