Restoring Habitats Along the Truckee River

The Truckee River is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and home to many species of plants and animals. Since the 1800s, the Truckee River corridor has experienced significant physical and ecological impacts, partially due to historic land uses like logging, ice harvest, and land development. Downstream of the town of Truckee, a spur railroad from the 1870s blocked 11 acres of important floodplain. This impacted riparian habitat and eroded a downstream bank. The Truckee River Wildlife Area Restoration project aims to remedy the root causes of a limited floodplain by restoring processes and functions that will allow the river to spread out and rewet the floodplain, and allow for deposited sediment to act as a growth medium for vegetation.

(Left to right) The project site pre-restoration, during implementation, and post-restoration. In the first picture, you can see the very visible berm for the railroad spur. In the second picture, the site is being graded to return the land to its natural elevation so that the river can spill on to it. In the third picture, the area is stabilized with erosion-control blankets and plugs of native grasses and wetland vegetation. During high rainfall or snowmelt, the river can overflow its channel and temporarily flood this low-lying ground.

Reversing historic damage

Fostering climate resilience
Reintroducing native plants—such as sedges, grasses, and penstemon—promotes biodiversity which is beneficial in the face of climate change.

Restoring 11 acres of floodplain
By reconnecting the river and floodplain, important hydrologic processes and functions that were lost 150 years ago will be restored.

Improving wetland habitat
Over time, floodplains are covered by sand, silt and other soil-forming material—supporting wetland plants that provide habitat for bugs, birds, and wildlife.

Keeping the water clean
Treating areas of erosion and bank destabilization—along with planting native vegetation—reduces the amount of sedimentation into the Truckee River.

Where it all happens

The Truckee River Wildlife Area – Boca Unit is located downstream of the town of Truckee, along east bound I-80.
Fast Facts

Location: Downstream of the town of Truckee, along east bound I-80

Scale: 11 acres of floodplain and 4 acres of upland

Schedule: July 2023 — October 2023

Budget: $1,190,000 100% funded

Partners: CA Department of Fish and Wildlife


Dig deeper

For more information on assessments, monitoring, plans reports, and general information on the Truckee River Wildlife Area – Boca Unit restoration project, explore this resources section.