Posted by Lisa Wallace, Executive Director.

The Town of Truckee Planning Commission is hearing updates to the development code.  The development code has a life span of roughly twenty years and is one of the key methods by which the general plan is implemented.

On June 8, 2011 the Commission began reviewing changes to development code related to Donner Lake, the Truckee River and its streams. Generally, the Watershed Council supports the current code and recommendations for proposed changes.  (See staff report for item 6.4 here

However, we would like some added protections for Donner Lake and some added protections for riparian zones.  Some of our recommendations include :

  • All riparian/stream setbacks to be at least 100’ from the 100-year flood plan
  • Donner Lake setbacks to be 100’ from the high water mark
  • All riparian vegetation be maintained in all set backs
  • Donner Lake has an additional area of protection that extends 1,000’ from the high water mark that includes restrictions on percentage of the site that can disturbed;  uses be restricted from livestock;  residential only use;  grading limits; and increased storm water management
  • Grading in setbacks be prohibited, but if a variance is granted, grading promotes sheet flow and avoid concentrating runoff
  • Uses in setbacks be restricted from impervious surfaces, structures, non-native vexation, pesticide and herbicide use, mowing, motorized vehicles, and other activities that cause soil and vegetation disturbance or contributes to erosion or runoff.


Currently the Town is allowing piers and we are considering suggesting the Town develop a policy on piers in Donner Lake, including width of the pier, and erosion control and soil stabilization.

These sorts of protections to the Truckee River, streams, and Donner Lake will help the natural buffers to slow down and spread out runoff, promote infiltration, protect soils, enhance habitat and increases the ability of all these water ways to be more adaptable and resilient in the face of the impacts of climate change.