Upper Truckee River Reach 5 Restoration Project / South Lake Tahoe, CA


A 1.5 mile reach of the Upper Truckee River, the largest tributary to Lake Tahoe needed restoration in order to raise groundwater tables, reactivate the floodplain, improve water quality, and restore riparian and wetland habitat. The Wildscape Engineering team managed the field investigations, design, and oversight on this four year, phased project. Engaging in a collaborative design process with the Forest Service and inter-disciplinary consultant team 100% construction documents were completed in 2012 covering new channel construction, utility relocation, LWD and bio-technical bank treatments and boulder grade controls.

Overall Progress

The first two phases of channel construction were completed in 2013 and 2014 resulting in over 7,000 feet of new channel built and two utility lines lowered. In 2015 the new channel remained offline from the existing river in order to allow the vegetation to mature and the new channel to become more stable. The final phase completed in 2016 rerouted the Upper Truckee River into the newly constructed and seasoned channel and backfilled and integrated most of the former channel into the surrounding floodplain.

2018 Best in the Basin Award Winner

This project received a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Best in the Basin Award for 2018.

Project Design Elements

  • New channel construction
  • Stream diversion and dewatering
  • Temporary river crossings
  • Grade control structures
  • Utility relocations
  • Floodplain connectivity
  • Large engineered wood structures
  • Biotechnical bank treatments
  • Erosion control
  • Revegetation
  • Aquatic and wildlife habitat restoration
  • SWPPP development
  • Grade staking and layout

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