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Upper Truckee River Photograph

What's New

See the Library Page for the Spring 2013 newsletter



Buffer Zone

W e l c o m e

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Welcome to the home page of the Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project, California State Parks (CSP) Reach, near South Lake Tahoe, California. The purpose of this site is to provide information, updates, and downloadable documents as part of a multi year planning process for restoring a 1.5-mile reach of the river near Meyers, California, as well as to provide information on other resource management activities in the parks.

EIR/EIS approved

In the approved final EIR/EIS, California State Parks selected a slightly modified version of Alternative 2: “River Ecosystem Restoration with Reconfigured 18-hole Golf Course” as the Proposed Project. This alternative was chosen because it best meets the project goals providing for environmental benefits while balancing recreational and economic interests.

Presently, the incised and eroding Upper Truckee is a major source of sediment flowing into Lake Tahoe contributing to an increasing reduction of clarity in the lake, and the meadow floodplain habitat is degraded. As described in the EIR/EIS the proposed project would restore approximately a mile long reach of the river to a meandering pattern and reconnect the river to its former meadow floodplain which is currently occupied by golf holes. Seven entire golf holes and 2 partial holes would be moved to the western side of the river into less sensitive lands. The project would improve water quality and improve instream and riparian habitat.

The California State Parks and Recreation Commission approved boundary changes between the 2 adjacent units (Lake Valley SRA and Washoe Meadows SP) in January 2012.

Proposed Project

The purpose of the proposed project is to restore natural geomorphic and ecological processes to this section of the river and to reduce the input of nutrients and suspended sediment to Lake Tahoe, while still providing a broad array of recreation access including activities such as hiking, biking, and golf recreation (18 hole regulation).

The approved project (alternative 2 modified) would relocate several golf course holes away from the rivers' edge and out of the floodplain to less sensitive land west of the river. The river will be restored to a meandering pattern with connectivity to it's floodplain. Areas where golf is removed from the floodplain would be restored to meadow habitat. A recreation plan will be developed to increase access to the river and regional trail connectivity.

Revised Layout for Project Proposed

Since the EIR approval, CSP has continued to refine the river and golf course designs. CSP has revised the layout of the restored river and relocated golf course holes to reduce the number of holes to be relocated from up to 9 to just 5 holes (see map). This will reduce the number of holes moved west of the river and will reduce construction costs, while still allowing for major improvements to the river and floodplain, retention of an 18 holes golf course and increased opportunities for other recreation such as hiking, fishing and biking.

Recreational Opportunities

Relocation of the golf holes that are presently adjacent to the river opens up a corridor that could be used for various types of recreation, provide river access and connect users from Highway 50 to the western side of the park. The plan could include elements such as new trails, ADA routes, fishing access, cross-country skiing trailheads and parking, but the details will be determined through a public planning process. California State Parks will launch a planning process for the reconfigured WMSP to determine recreation uses and trail systems. This planning process will be in coordination with the Meyers Community Plan Update.

The proposed project will:

Benefit the Environment-Restore River; Improve Lake Clarity & Wildlife Habitat

  • Restore over a mile long reach of the Upper Truckee River.
  • Restore over 32 acres of meadow floodplain and stream environment zone.
  • Reduce erosion and increase deposition of clarity reducing sediment input to Lake Tahoe.
  • Move 5 to 9 golf course holes further from the river, creating a buffer.
  • Improve riparian habitat and provide more continuous riverine corridor.
  • Reconnect river to its floodplain, restoring water table and vegetation.
  • Remove 5 erosion-causing bridges and replace with 1 longer bridge.
  • Continue protection of the fen, wetlands and the Celio barn which are all outside the project area.
  • Reduce turf by over 10%.
  • Reduce golf course within 50 feet of the river from over 6,300 feet to 1,450 feet.

Improve Recreational Opportunities

  • Open a mile of the river to fishing, swimming, and bird watching (currently closed to recreation because it is in the middle of golf play).
  • Construction of a new trail paralleling south-east side of river which will connect with the Sawmill Bike Trail and corner of Country Club Drive and connecting to new bridge.
  • New bridge will serve mixed recreation and will connect new trail to trails on west side of river, providing greater regional connectivity (See map).
  • Keep an 18 hole regulation golf course, but update layout and irrigation (open during construction).
  • Create a trail head near the clubhouse.
  • Clubhouse could be also used as more of a visitor center—a gateway to the Tahoe Basin- and provide more interpretation.

Support the Local Economy

  • Keep tourism dollars related to golf course coming to South Lake Tahoe.
  • Maintain employment in South Lake Tahoe: both Lake Tahoe Golf Course and golf related tourism jobs.
  • Maintain revenue for California State.
Problem Statement

Over the past century, the Upper Truckee River has been impacted by logging, gravel mining, grazing channel straightening and subsequent development of the golf course directly on the floodplain. These disturbances have led to erosion, increases of sediment and nutrient loads to Lake Tahoe, and decreased riparian habitat. Due to these types of disturbances, Lake Tahoe has lost 30 feet of clarity since the 1960’s.

General Project Goals:

  • Reduce erosion, fine sediment and nutrients into the Upper Truckee River and Lake Tahoe
  • Restore natural river flows, floodplains and meadows
  • Expand habitat corridor to strengthen natural ecosystem
  • Reduce impacts of dated golf course and create streamside buffer zones
  • Maintain recreational and economic benefits



Download Planning Documents Here
Washoe Meadows State Park



< Alternative 2 Revised Recreation Map -- Updated 11-10-2011 >

Note that this map does not reflect a revised layout. The recreation plan will be part of the upcoming general plan for the WMSP.


This site was latest updates on April 4, 2013