California Wildlife Conservation Board awards $2.98 million to the California Tahoe Conservancy

By on December 3, 2019

Development in the 20th century destroyed much of the Upper Truckee Marsh, the largest wetland in the Lake Tahoe Basin, through dredging and filling, and channelizing the Upper Truckee River as it nears Lake Tahoe. But the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC) is set to begin restoration of the Marsh next year thanks in part to a recent California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) grant of $$2.98 million.

“We’re grateful to the Wildlife Conservation Board for its support,” said Conservancy Board Chair and City of South Lake Tahoe representative Brooke Laine. “This new funding closes a gap for one of the most important environmental restoration projects in Lake Tahoe’s history.”

In addition to the grant award from WCB, other project funders include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The WCB grant provides a critical portion of funds needed for the $10.6 million restoration project.

Upon completion of the restoration project the Upper Truckee Marsh will again be able to fulfill its original role acting as a natural pollution filter and removing fine sediment from the water before it reaches Lake Tahoe. It will also be more resilient to droughts, flooding, and other climate change impacts. Additionally, the restoration of the Marsh will improve water quality and enrich native fish and bird habitat.

The California Tahoe Conservancy plans to begin construction in 2020 to restore over 250 acres of floodplain by returning a portion of the river flows to the center of the Marsh. The CTC will create wetlands by removing fill material near the Tahoe Keys as part of the project. Additionally, the CTC will also enhance public access and recreation opportunities in the northwest corner of the Marsh.

The Marsh project is an anchor for the larger interagency strategy for the Upper Truckee River. The partners’ goals include restoring the ecological integrity of the river and floodplain, while improving water quality and recreation access.