Restore the Upper Truckee River

Improving Lake Tahoe's Clarity & Environment. Increasing Recreational Access & Connectivity. Strengthening Our Local Economy.

Current Condition of the River

Eroding bed and banks, disconnected from its floodplain and lacks habitat.

Desired Condition of the River

Connected to its floodplain with healthy riparian vegetation.healthy upper truckee river restoration

Location

The proposed Project is located in Lake Valley State Recreation Area (including the Lake Tahoe Golf Course) and the south-eastern portion of Washoe Meadows State Park, along the Upper Truckee River.

ALT 2B Project Highlights

RIVER and ENVIRONMENT: 

  • Restores a 1.5 mile section of the Upper Truckee River
  • Protects Lake Tahoe’s clarity by reducing sediment input
  • Reduces golf course turf by 15%
  • Protects the fen area and reduces impacts to the stream environment
  • Expands Washoe Meadows State Parks by two acres
  • Works in conjunction with a multi-reach restoration effort along the Upper Truckee River as several projects are collaborating to improve the environment

GOLF and ECONOMY:

  • Retains and improves the 18-hole championship, Audubon recognized golf course for economic vitality of the region
  • Relocates five holes to less sensitive land out of the floodplain
  • Updates irrigation system of the golf course to be more water efficient and replace old pipes
  • Incorporates more elevation changes
  • Generates substantial revenues and jobs to the local economy
  • Replaces port-o-potty with new restrooms

RECREATION:

  • Expands Washoe Meadows State Parks by two acres
  • Improves and promotes access for more people to be able to enjoy the Park vs. neighborhood access for only a few
  • Increases recreation access to Upper Truckee River, opening a mile of previously closed river to the public, while maintaining current access
  • Increases access to Washoe Meadows State Park
  • Adds new ADA accessible trail along the river and a new recreation bridge over the river

View ALT 2B Project Alternatives

Welcome and Thank You for Visiting this Informational Website about the proposed Project Alternative 2B!

The proposed Project ALT 2B improves the natural environment, reduces sediment from entering Lake Tahoe, enhances recreational access, expands Washoe Meadows State Parks, and reduces the golf course turf while keeping the 18-hole affordable golf play opportunity, which is a significant economic driver for South Lake Tahoe.

ALT 2B will accomplish this by relocating five golf course holes (a decrease from nine holes in the previous plan) to a less sensitive area of previously disturbed lands, which are away from the river. The active floodplain will be restored as well as a 1.5 mile reach of the river with its associated habitat, bringing it all to a geomorphically stable system.

Alternative 2B (ALT 2B) and Additional Environmental Analysis Document DPAAEA released for Public Comment

The Notice Of Availability (NOA) (download PDF) has information on how to submit questions and comments. In response to a lawsuit brought by a citizen’s group, on an DEIR/EIS document (environmental studies and analysis) circulated in 2012 by California State Parks (CSP), CSP has prepared a supplemental document, the draft Preferred Alternative and Additional Environmental Analysis (DPAAEA), to define the proposed Project, ALT 2B for the Upper Truckee Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project. This DPAAEA, in conjunction with the earlier volume of the DEIR and FEIR, constitutes the entire analysis.

In a joint coordinated effort with several other agencies to clean up sediment in the Upper Truckee River and improve Lake Tahoe clarity, CSP has prepared an EIR/EIS to restore the Upper Truckee River that passes through a state recreation area. When opponents from the adjacent neighborhood brought a lawsuit against CSP, an appellate judge sided with the opponents in finding that the Project description was confusing, although the Project description was included in the environmental documents that had been circulated. A supplemental document has been prepared to clarify the Project description and resolve several other minor issues. This DPAAEA is now available for review here—download pdf— or electronically to download at State Parks’ web page: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=981 (click on “El Dorado County”).

Public Comment is Open. Comments are due by July 30, 2018. 

Please provide your comments on either or both, ALT 2B and EIS HERE.  Comments are due by July 30, 2018.  For more information on this Project, email: utproject@parks.ca.gov

The California Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioners (PRC) will decide the direction of this Project on October, 18 and 19, 2018. To submit comments to the PRC, Email:  info@parks.ca.gov:  Letters to:
California State Park & Recreation Commission
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001

RECENT NEWS: 

On Tues. July 17, approximately 50 South Lake Tahoe community members toured the proposed Alt 2B Project site for the Restore Upper Truckee River and Golf Configuration Project. At the helm to share the facts about the project was Cyndie Walck, a geomorphologist with CA State Parks who has 25 years of experience working to restore streams and protect watersheds in the Tahoe area.

In conjunction with multiple river restoration projects along the Upper Truckee River, this effort will ultimately restore a 1.5 section of the river to its natural state stopping loads of sediment from entering into Lake Tahoe and improving habitat along the river.

What’s at stake if Project Alt 2B doesn’t move forward? In addition to more delays in restoring a critical section of the river, a main question will be whether or not South Lake Tahoe will be able to keep its 18-hole regulation golf course, which is a strong economic driver for the town. The golf course is also an Audubon award winning and championship course hosting which is an affordable option for locals and visitors plus it is the host of many charity events.

While some are stating that the golf course will expand, the fact is that it will actually be reduced by 15% in turf while the Washoe Meadows State Park will be the one to expand by two acres.  The proposed Project will increase access to the river and to the park inviting more people to be able to enjoy the park versus the current much more limited access only available from the neighborhood. Another benefit of ALT 2B is golf course water conservation though improved efficiency.

It’s time the community learns the true facts about the proposed ALT 2B Project because it will ensure a sustainable solution for the local economy while improving the river environment, and protecting the wetlands and sensitive resources. It will also open up recreational access for more people to safely enjoy the park (away from golf) including a new ADA trail along the restored river, public bridges over the river, and moving the golf course off of the nature-sensitive flood plain.

The community is invited to learn more about the factual benefits of the proposed ALT 2B Project and to also support it by submitting comments to utproject@parks.ca.gov

For those who missed the recent site tours and would like to request one, please email  utproject@parks.ca.gov

Proposed Project ALT 2B Description

The Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project will restore the natural geomorphic and ecological processes to this section of the river. The river will be restored to a meandering pattern, reducing erosion and sediment to Lake Tahoe and restoring connectivity to its floodplain, improving riparian vegetation and wildlife corridors.  The proposed Project (Alternative 2B) will ensure that South Lake Tahoe keeps an 18-hole championship golf course with water conservation efficiencies via an updated irrigation, a reduction in turf of 15%  the relocation of five golf course holes away from the rivers’ edge and out of the floodplain to less sensitive land west of the river. Areas where golf is removed from the floodplain would be restored to meadow habitat, five under-sized bridges would be removed, and recreation access would increase to the Upper Truckee River and to Washoe Meadows State Park, which would be expanded by two acres. Currently access is limited and accessible only to a nearby neighborhood but the proposed ALT 2B Project would open access for more people to enjoy.

This proposed Project is part of a broader collaborative effort to restore multiple reaches of the Upper Truckee River and improve Lake Tahoe water clarity.  It will improve recreational opportunities, trail connectivity, community economic vitality and the environment.

The Problem

Over the past century, the Upper Truckee River has been impacted by logging, gravel mining, grazing channel straightening, and the 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. For more information, visit History & Background.

Compare Alternatives

Please see the map showing the proposed Project ALT 2B, which would reconfigure the golf course to allow for river restoration, enhanced recreation access and economic vitality. Five holes would be relocated to keep the 18-hole golf course.  Compare this map with Alternative 1, on the right-side, which shows existing conditions or no action.

click images to enlarge

On average, 16 dump trucks of sediment enter Lake Tahoe from the Project reach per year (Source: Swanson Report).  With the 7-year Project delay (on hold due to legalities), this equates to 112 more dump trucks with loads of sediment going into Lake Tahoe (7 years x 16)! 

 

Detailed Maps of Preferred Alternative 2B Restoration

The Benefits of Restoring the Upper Truckee River

Restores the Natural Environment

  • Restores a 1.5 mile section of the Upper Truckee River to directly reduce clarity-reducing sediment flowing into Lake Tahoe and stop erosion due to artificial straightening.
  • Restores more than 31 acres of meadow floodplain and the stream environment zone.
  • Improves riparian habitat and provides more continuous riverine corridor.
  • Reconnects the river to its floodplain, restoring water table and vegetation.
  • Expands Washoe Meadows State Park by two-acres.
  • Reduces turf on golf course by 15%.
  • Moves five golf course holes (a decrease from nine holes in the previous plan) further away from the river, creating a buffer to help protect the natural environment.
  • Reduces golf course within 50 feet of the river from over 6,300 feet to less than 1500 feet.
  • Removes five erosion-causing undersized bridges and replaces with two longer bridges.
  • Provides a 400 ft. buffer from the fen and continues the protection of the fen and wetlands which are all outside the Project area (source: California Native Plant Society).

Improves Recreational Opportunities

  • Improves and promotes access for more people to be able to enjoy the Park versus the current neighborhood only access.
  • Expands Washoe Meadows State Parks by two-acres.
  • Improves and keeps the 18-hole championship golf course delivering significant economic benefits to the community with an updated layout and water-saving irrigation (it is anticipated that parts, if not all, of the Golf Course will remain open during the various phases of construction).
  • Keeps affordable golf recreation to the local community and visitors.
  • Opens up a mile of river access to recreation access for fishing, swimming and bird watching (currently closed to recreation because it’s in the middle of golf play).
  • Creates new recreation access near the clubhouse, including trailhead and picnic tables.
  • Delivers a more safe recreational experience (away from golf activity).
  • Constructs a new ADA accessible trail paralleling the south-east side of river, connecting from Highway 50 to a new bridge. This will connect to trails on the west side of the river and provide greater regional connectivity to increase visitor access to Washoe Meadows State Park (which currently does not have any developed access or parking).
  • Delivers a new bridge to serve mixed recreation (the new ADA trail that connects Sawmill Bike Trail to trails in Washoe Meadows State Park).
  • Gives potential for the Clubhouse to become more of a visitor center—a gateway to the Tahoe Basin- and provide more interpretation.

Strengthens the Local Economy

  • Ensures a sustainable key revenue generator for the South Lake Tahoe community and California State Parks: the 18-hole regulation golf course is a substantial producer of strong economic benefits.
  • Keeps tourism dollars related to the golf course in South Lake Tahoe.
  • Generates employment in South Lake Tahoe via both Lake Tahoe Golf Course and golf related tourism jobs.
  • Generates revenue to keep other CA State Parks open on an annual basis.
  • Boosts the local economy directly and incrementally: approximately 2/3 of golf rounds are played by visitors from out of town. These visitors also spend money on lodging, meals, and additional related tourism that supports the local economy.