We’re on it!

By Kincade Stirek, Conservation Assistant

For the past 20 years, the TRWC has spreadheaded hundreds of restoration projects that reverse historic land-use impact. And the recent Elizabethtown Meadow project (lead by Beth Christman and in partnership with the Truckee Donner Land Trust) is a prime example of how our work brings back a meadow’s once flourishing birds, wildflowers and natural beauty.

As far back as 1870, Elizabethtown Meadow was a Silver Rush boom town. Though the boom lasted only two years, the damage lasted for decades. A century later, poorly maintained access roads, constructed to enable development in the area, resulted in further sediment erosion into Middle Martis Creek.

But here’s the good news: in 2011 this 152-acre parcel was purchased by the Truckee Donner Land trust to protect it for conservation and recreation. And now, five years later, the Land Trust is partnering with TRWC to perform a complete restoration- re-introducing wildflowers, providing nesting ground for native birds and constructing connecting trails for hiker and bicyclists.

The Elizabethtown parcel is located on the east side of Highway 267 across from the entrance to Northstar California™. New trails will provide recreational linkage between Northstar and Waddle Ranch preserve. So bird-watchers, hikers and bikers alike will be able to access and track the transformation. We are happy to say that the completion of these trails finished October of 2016, but it will still take several years for the wildlife (and wildflowers) to fully flourish again.

Running for nearly a mile, right through the property, is the Middle Fork of Martis Creek. This year-round creek is home to stonefly aquatic insect larvae, essential to the entire watershed’s ecological vitality. The surrounding upland area sustains a thriving Jeffrey Pine forest, providing habitats for deer and bear. The Elizabethtown Meadow itself is actually two distinct mountain meadows which encompass just one part of the entire Land Trust parcel.

Once fully funded, the Elizabethtown Meadow project will:

  • Redirect the flow of natural springs across the meadow
  • Re-introduce native wildflowers like lupine, larkspur & woods rose
  • Remove sections of old logging roads
  • Convert old access roads into hiking, biking, snow-shoeing and cross country ski trails that connect to the Waddle Ranch and Northstar™ trail systems
  • Monitor the restoration of meadows and upland areas

Keep an eye on our Elizabethtown Meadow progress bar to track the project’s development. And see where your contribution can dramatically impact the outcome.

Elizabethtown Meadow Restoration Progress


The Watershed Council oversees restoration and protection of this acquisition with Truckee Donner Land Trust.

Funding comes from the donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council-which includes donations from Truckee residents, vacation homeowners, outdoor enthusiasts and people like you and grants from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and the Martis Fund.

To play your part in restoring one of California’s most exquisite wildflower meadows, contact Brenda Gilbert at 530-550-7860, x5.

You’ll feel inspired just knowing we’re on it!