Beginning in the 1800s and continuing through intense land development in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Upper Truckee River was channelized through Lake Tahoe’s largest delta and marsh complex, which resulted in most of the marsh being dewatered, eroded, or obliterated. In an effort to preserve functioning areas and restore the sediment and nutrient-sequestration functions, the California Tahoe Conservancy purchased a number of large parcels, began restoration design development, and completed environmental documentation for the preferred restoration design alternative. Drawing on prior and ongoing work in the watershed and conceptual planning efforts completed by others, Balance Hydrologics (Balance) partnered with a diverse team of experts and planners to advance the preferred design alternative. Initial work has consisted of reviewing 20 years’ worth of geomorphology, hydrology, hydraulic, sediment transport, and groundwater studies that have been completed for and near the project site. Based on this information, Balance is now co-leading the design effort, outlining the hydrotechnical basis of design for review by a diverse panel of experts, and working to help develop appropriate restoration effectiveness monitoring metrics. Design elements include channel filling, limited channel construction in order to re-introduce flows to abandoned relict channels, expansion of a dynamic lagoon and mouth environment. The design and implementation approach also features adaptive management as a key strategy to understanding marsh response, so that design adjustments can be made throughout the implementation and post-restoration period. Ancillary benefits, such as recreational and educational/interpretative opportunities, are also included in the design.

South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, CA
California Tahoe Conservancy
Upper Truckee
Fish Habitat, H & H, Habitat Enhancement, Restoration, Riparian Restoration, Stakeholder Engagement, Surface & Groundwater interaction, Water Quality, Watershed Planning, Wetland Design
Design, Geomorphology, Hydrology & Hydraulics