by Lisa Wallace, Executive Director

Sometimes Jeannette Halderman and I get discouraged because of a tough challenge or obstacle in the way of a restoration project. But a shift in mindset from a Zen proverb can change the perspective: “The obstacle is the path.”

The obstacle isn’t something standing in our way. It’s the way itself. Here is what I mean:

  • Too many partners with too many different interests. The Truckee Wetlands Restoration project has at least six land owners in the project area. On the other hand, if we can understand their needs relative to the restoration project, we have six stakeholders in support of the project. And we have defined a suite of benefits. So we work with the different interests and the project is stronger for having done that: more wetland habitat, better water quality, connector and interpretive trails, better parking, and repaired roads.
  • There is too much damage and its too expensive to restore. The Truckee Wetlands start near the Regional Park and go all the way to the Truckee River (I know , it’s hard to believe, but it’s true!). They are fragmented by roads, houses, apartments, the Rodeo Grounds, the Ponderosa Golf course, and the Town’s old corporation yard. We could give up, get frustrated, and walk away. Or we could embrace some possible opportunities – get the wetlands restoration to be part of the Hilltop Master Plan, the Brockway Trail, Old Brockway Road road improvements, the de-commissioning of the corporation yard.

There are more examples but the principle is clear: when there’s an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it and deal with it.

This is how we are going to get the Truckee Wetlands restored – shifting obstacles into opportunities, one at a time. And before we know it we will no longer be limited by the obstacles – and some will have even become strengths. Learn more here.

Thank you to the following funders for helping us see the obstacles as the path of the Truckee Wetlands Project: donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council, the Community Foundation of Western Truckee River Fund, the Town of Truckee, the Truckee Donner PUD, and California Resources Agency.

Photo: Truckee Wetlands Conceptual Plan, Credit: Balance Hydrologics, Inc./L+P Designworks