Hi, Lisa Wallace, Executive Director, here.

Last week at our annual fundraiser, the River Breakfast, I talked about the effects Climate Change has on the Truckee River watershed. One of the first reports on the regional impacts* calls out: 

“Truckee River water supply: Toward the end of the century, there are likely to be longer periods when the lake falls below its natural rim and water stops flowing into the Truckee River. (In the last 110 years, the lake has fallen beneath its natural rim on only 20 occasions, and only for a few months or years at a time.)”

“Under the “business as usual” scenario, these periods could be as long as 10 to 20 years. This would eliminate a large part of the downstream water supply for Reno, Pyramid Lake and agriculture. Under the “optimistic” scenario, these periods would last several years at a time and occur more frequently than in the past.”

In addition, habitat and water quality could be comprised.  So why we would invest in restoration today, when the future for the main stem looks bleak?

Because, as the study also calls out, restoration efforts of the past two decades have made a positive impact and “the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, which prioritizes fine-particle removal to improve clarity, may be the most important local action to be taken to help mitigate against climate change.”

Here at the Watershed Council, our restoration projects directly address erosion control, habitat, stream flows and water quality, improving the resiliency of our streams and their ability to adapt to the changes ahead.

For more on the climate change study, go here: http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9680

 *The Effects of Climate Change on Lake Tahoe in the 21st Century: Meteorology, Hydrology, Loading and Lake Response;Pacific Southwest Research Station, Tahoe Environmental Science Center, 2010.