Grant #289

Lower Truckee Trout Habitat Project

Trout Unlimited has a long history of successful restoration projects on the Truckee River. Our habitat projects on the Truckee have led to improved stream resilience, increased fish presence, greater macroinvertebrate populations, and the resurgence of critical native vegetation within the system. While most of our work has been on the California side of this iconic river system, we are pleased to announce our intentions to restore a beloved and heavily used fishing access area in Nevada.

The Lower Truckee Trout Habitat Project builds on the success of similar projects implemented by Trout Unlimited on the Truckee River. Using the same construction techniques as were used at Glenshire and Horner’s Corner, TU is planning to install several “j-hook” habitat structures at Crystal Peak Park in Verdi. This project will provide much needed aquatic habitat that benefits wild and native trout in an area that has seen severe historic human manipulation, and it will help to protect banks from erosive processes.

TMWA Benefit:

Watershed Improvements: As with the entirety of the Truckee River, this site is listed as impaired under EPA 303(D). Crystal Peak is a heavily used access location for recreational angling, despite exhibiting degraded habitat conditions.

Increased temperature creates mortality in aquatic species by lowering the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the system. The proposed habitat features will create scour pools below the structure, increasing oxygenation and discouraging fine sediment deposition. In periods of low flow, this will serve to create cold water refugia for all aquatic species, increasing resilience throughout different flow regimes.

Most importantly, the rock vanes are designed to effectively shift the high-stress velocity gradients away from the bank and toward the center of the river channel. This serves to stabilize the bank and prevent excessive erosion below the vane. The design provides quality in-stream aquatic habitat and a cost-effective and low-maintenance bank stabilization approach when compared to other techniques such as placement of riprap and netting.

The Crystal Peak Park site is located upstream of both Chalk Bluff and Glendale TMWA water treatment plants. While not currently a section listed for turbidity impairments, the bank stabilization benefits of this project will prevent sediment input to downstream stretches including the two TMWA water treatment plants. With the project site located on public land within Washoe County parks, these efforts will increase the enjoyment of the area for anglers as well as the general public by increasing biodiversity and resilience of all wildlife that depend on the river. The increase of macroinvertebrates and fish will create more available food for birds and mammals, allowing the public more opportunities to engage with nature on this impacted stretch of the river.