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Monitoring Gage

This is a water monitoring gage that is located in the Upper Truckee River . Monitoring provides real time data on flows in the river.

See USGS stream data for the Upper Truckee and other Tahoe area waters at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/current/?type=flow


California State Parks (CSP) Monitoring Activities

Surveying, monitoring, and data analysis are all critical components of environmental projects, including during the planning, design implementation and post-project phases. It is important to be flexible and adaptive to achieve the highest level of useful data for a specific project.

California State Parks (CSP) has been collecting, compiling, and analyzing many forms of data along the 1.5 mile reach of the Upper Truckee River through Washoe Meadows Stare Park and Lake Valley State Recreation Area for over a decade. Outlined below are descriptions and examples of a few of the different types of data that has been collected to help in the planning and design process of this potential project.

Cross section surveys

Cross sections are surveyed perpendicular to the flow direction, and show the elevation vs. distance of the bed and banks of the river; these are repeated over time at monitored sites along the river. This data provides important details about lateral movement of the banks and any changes in the bed form of the stream. In some cases along CSP reach of the Upper Truckee River over 40 feet of bank has been lost to erosion over a ten year period of monitoring. Elevations of various flow discharges are recorded, showing the stage or height of various flows and the elevation to which a channel has to flood or overbank its water at a given cross section. State Parks has over 30 cross sections along the Upper Truckee River through its reach .

Longitudinal Profile Survey

Long profile are measured along the length of the river, measuring bed elevation against longitudinal distance. Surveys for the parks reach of the Upper Truckee River have been conducted a number of times. This survey is intended to monitor the channel stability vertically. With this data, significant changes in bed aggradation and degradation can be identified when the data is graphed. Important breaks in the stream bed were surveyed and noted as such as pool, riffle crest, and head cuts. The slope of the stream bed can be determined with this data, and with surveyed water elevations the water slope at specific discharge rates can be determined as well.

Stream Peak/Flow Measurement

CSP monitors flow stage (or height) and velocity to determine discharge on the Upper Truckee

River at various locations. This data is tied to and compared with the USGS real time data to establish a rating curve showing the relationship of flow to stage. This data is used in determining 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1.5 year flows and stages of the river at certain locations. CSP also has a continuous surface water pressure transducer deployed that records the river stage every 15 minutes, which correlates with the USGS real time interval.

Ground Water Levels

40 ground water wells have been installed within WMSP/LVSRA to measure depth to ground water Wells are arranged in a linear crosssectional fashion so that the data can be graphed and correlated cross valley. Measurements are conducted manually and recorded and graphed over a full water year (Oct 1 - Sept 30). The ground water level is also correlated to the river surface water stage to help compare the relationship of the river to the ground water. An important aspect of collecting ground water measurements pre and post project is that you can see the change in the yearly fluctuation of the ground water in relation to the river stage and the ground. Near surface ground water during the growing season is vital to having a strong, diverse riparian ecosystem; thus this is an important element to monitor which links the physical properties to the habitat .


Surveys for various species have been conducted since 2004 to establish baseline conditions, ensure the project does not negatively impact sensitive species and monitor the effects of the project. Surveys have been conducted for song birds, Sierra Nevada mountain beaver ( Aplodontia rufa ), and amphibian surveys along the Upper Truckee River; nocturnal small mammal surveys throughout Lake Valley SRA; and nocturnal and diurnal raptor surveys in the uplands of Washoe Meadows SP. These surveys include California Department of Fish and Game protocol-level surveys for the willow flycatcher ( Empidonax traillii ), northern goshawk ( Accipiter gentilis ), California spotted owl ( Strix occidentalis occidentalis ), and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog ( Rana muscosa) . None of these sensitive species were detected. There is currently moderate small mammal and song bird diversity and abundance in the riparian areas. It is anticipated that following restoration activities, there will be an increase in both diversity and abundance for small mammals and song birds. Aquatic invertebrate surveys have also been conducted in the river.


Field mapping of vegetation was conducted in 2004 and 2006. A vegetative community map was prepared of LVSRA and the southern ½ of WMSP on an aerial photo base. Long term changes in community types and boundaries can be monitored from this. In addition, CSP designed a monitoring protocol to measure vegetation change over time at 20 wells along four transects along the groundwater monitoring wells. This baseline vegetation monitoring was conducted in July and August, 2007.

The goals of the 2007 vegetation monitoring were to:

-- establish and photograph one permanent vegetation plot at each of 20 wells along four transects;

--identify all vascular plants present within each plot at the time of the 2007 field surveys and note which plants are special-status species or nonnative;

--record general height and phenology data for the vegetation in each plot;

--record height class and percent cover data for each vascular plants species present within each plot;

--calculate number of vascular plant species, percent cover, and cover class for the plot as a whole, within each height class, and for nonnative species;


Initial archaeological surveys of four miles of the Upper Truckee River between the Highway 50 bridge at Elks Club/Sawmill Road—north end of LVSRA—to the Highway 50 bridge at Meyers—south of the current project area with a 1000-foot corridor were conducted in 2003 for Washoe Meadows State Park encompassing approximately 625 acres and included the western portion of the Upper Truckee River Restoration Project area. Later in 2003 another survey was conducted by Pacific Legacy Inc. which covered the entire park unit

Follow up work and filed testing was conducted by DPR archaeologist Denise Jaffke and with consultation from various consultants and coordination with the Native American community and the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC).

Other Agencies and entities Monitoring Activities

Partnering Agency Research 

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Through a grant from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, the ARS has installed a total of 8 sites along the Upper Truckee River and Trout Creek, with two of the sites being located on CSP property along the Upper Truckee River. The project is to help enhance their Bank Stability to Erosion (BSTEM) and Concepts hydraulic modeling programs. They are collecting a suite of data which includes; resistance of streambank material to scour and shear, near-bank pore water pressures, and volume and tensile strength of plant roots. This is two-year funded project which started in Fall of 2007.

2nd Nature, LLC

Also a SNPLMA funded research project, 2nd Nature, LLC designed a research project with 2 sites along the CSP reach of the Upper Truckee River to develop, verify and document data collection and analysis protocols which will help in quantifying and predicting the water quality benefits from stream restoration projects. Several different techniques are being used at each site to collect data.

There is a vertical boom profile sampler near hole 6 which is used to collect water samples at different elevations within the stream water column for a know velocity. This is then correlated with a surveyed cross section and sediment load reductions can be calculated. Each site also has a series of floodplain passive samplers placed at different elevations along a surveyed cross section which capture a snapshot of sediment loads. These samplers give an estimate of sediment that is deposited on the floodplain during elevated flow events. In conjunction with the passive samplers, a number of sediment pins were installed with a known elevation. As sediment either builds or is eroded away from the pins, the distance from the top of the pin to the ground is measured to give a value.