The California Tahoe Conservancy is pushing a new plan to restore the largest remaining wetland in the Lake Tahoe basin, nearly 600 acres of marsh where the Upper Truckee River empties its cold Sierra waters into the south end of the mountain lake.
“This will be largest restoration project in the Tahoe basin to date,” said Patrick Wright, executive director of the Conservancy based in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
The wetlands are located west of the Nevada-California line and just west of the Tahoe Keys.
Beginning in the late 1950s, portions of the river were straightened and channelized to facilitate construction of the Keys with a network of waterways that provide residents with direct boat access to the lake. But in the process, the developers compromised one of the last defenses against the thousands of tons of sediment that enter the lake annually, threatening its famous clarity, according to backers of the proposed restoration.
“A primary goal of the draft plan is to reconnect the river with the marsh, and to restore the natural processes that filter fine sediment and other pollutants before they enter Lake Tahoe,” Wright said.
Public comment on the plan is being accepted through April 8.
The Conservancy, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency hosted a public meeting on the plans on Feb. 27 and were holding another at the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission on March 13. Additional hearings are planned at the TRPA Governing Board meeting on March 27 and at the Lake Tahoe Community College on March 28.