Restoring Coldstream Canyon

Coldstream Canyon, located just west of the Town of Truckee, is a mecca for recreational users including backpackers, mountain bikers and bird watchers. However, this ecosystem is endangered. The canyon, which drains over 12 miles of rugged land surrounding Cold Creek has been degraded through past logging, road construction and gravel mining practices.

In partnership with California State Parks,we are now in the process of re-creating historical wetland habitat in areas impacted by gravel mining, improving drainage on improperly constructed roadways, and reestablishing the natural functions of the watershed by restoring an additional one-mile reach of stream channel.

We have restored over 2,500 feet of stream channel and re-connected the floodplain to help enhance riparian habitat and reduce erosion. The primary waterbody, Cold Creek is bounded by the main east/west railroad line and is constricted by a giant culvert formed over the creek during railroad construction. What was once a dynamic alluvial fan now pulses tremendous amounts of sediment downstream during high flow events, degrading riparian habitat and causing heavy erosion along the streambanks. We’re fixing it

Transforming the Health and Resiliency of our Watershed

Increasing resilience through restoration

50 acres of stream channel and riparian floodplain restored.

Restoring a one-mile reach of Cold Creek will reconnect the floodplain, increase groundwater retention table, and allow for riparian habitat to reestablish

Creating wetland habitat

12 acres of wetland habitat will either be enhanced or created.

Removing fill material placed from gravel mining activities will increase groundwater levels and will support wetland vegetation such as sedges, rushes and willows. This increase of habitat will help one of our most threatened ecosystems – local wetland habitat.

Restoring natural drainage patterns

13 miles of dirt road drainage improved.

Allowing water to flow along its natural path, rather than along dirt roads, helps to reduce extensive erosion and reconnects the natural hydrology of the watershed that was present prior to road disruption.

Where it
all happens

Coldsteam Canyon is located 1 mile west of the town of Truckee off of Highway 80.
Fast Facts

Location: 1 mile west of the town of Truckee off of Highway 80

Scale: 50 acres of degraded stream channel proposed for restoration

12 acres of wetland habitat proposed for restoration

13 miles of dirt roadway improved

Scope: 2007 – 2025

Estimated Project Cost: $4 Million

Partially funded



For more information on assessments, monitoring, plans and reports pertaining to the restoration of Coldstream Canyon, check out this resources section.