Get ready to get down and dirty on the Truckee River! Join us for the Truckee River Watershed Council’s 28th Annual Truckee River Day on Sunday, October 15th. Work side-by-side with other nature-loving volunteers to tackle restoration projects throughout our watershed.

The Truckee River Watershed Council finds its origin in Truckee River Day. In 1996, a group of concerned community members came together and organized a volunteer restoration day. What was anticipated to be a dozen or so volunteers ended up being 300 people showing up to Granite Flat Campground ready to give back to the watershed they call home. Each year since, volunteers – new and old – come out to give back to the river with the same enthusiasm and heart.

Michele Prestowitz, Project Director of Restoration and Truckee River Day program manager reflected, “What’s so great about our area is the deep sense of environmental stewardship that the culture of our community is centered on. I’m reminded of this every year when we have hundreds of people from within and even outside of our community come out to help restore parts of our watershed.” Every effort makes a difference in improving the resiliency of our watershed. Through our typical project work that goes on year-round, we strive to strengthen our watershed’s ability to face challenges such as drought, fire, and diseases that are being exacerbated by climate change. Our Truckee River Projects are no different!

Many Truckee River Day projects are what we call adaptive management projects – designed to boost the benefits of large-scale restoration construction that has been completed in recent years. An example of this from Truckee River Day 2021 is at Martis Wildlife Area (MWA). The initial MWA project restored 70 acres during construction in Summer 2019. During TRD 2021, volunteers hoisted up their waders to fill check dams with willows. These check dams cause water to build up behind the dam and pushes the water out of the creek bed and onto the floodplain – adding moisture to the riparian area around the creek. This kind of dam still allows water to trickle through, but greatly slows the movement of water through Martis Valley, allowing more time to recharge groundwater, increasing moisture to vegetation that supports critical habitat, and keeping water flowing in Martis Creek later in the summer. This year, in 2023, the effects of that restoration effort are ragingly clear — we can now observed a multi-thread channel system in what was once a straight, single channel. There are backwater ponds, new willows moving in, and sagebrush moving out — excellent indicators of increased hydrologic function and wetland habitat area for sensitive wildlife species and for the enjoyment of our outdoor community!

This Truckee River Day, you have the opportunity to contribute to projects just like this one. Restoration projects begin at 9am and 11am and are open for all ages and abilities. Our Truckee River Fair, hosted at Granite Flat Campground just south of Truckee, will take place from 1-4pm and is a great opportunity for the whole family to get outside for some crafts, educational opportunities, food, drinks and fun on the Truckee River! To learn more about our projects for Truckee River Day 2023 and register to volunteer, visit our website at Together, we will continue to restore the Truckee River Watershed — its streams, wetlands, meadows, and forests — for many years to come!

Photos. Above: Enthusiastic crew in Olympic Valley on Truckee River Day 2018. Captured by Cathy Howard; Right: Kindred spirits at the Donner Creek Confluence Restoration on Truckee River Day 2003.