Restoration of river planned at ranch

RENO — Work could start this summer on restoring another stretch of the Truckee River east of Reno to a more natural state as part of an overall flood-control effort.

The $5.2 million project at the 102 Ranch would add two new bends, a series of riffles, nearby wetlands and native planting over 115 acres of land.

Such features would provide natural places for the river to flood as part of the “living river” flood-control project, and a new nature area for hiking and fishing is a side benefit.

“The 102 is just a field of tall whitetop now,” said Patti Bakker, project manager for The Nature Conservancy, which would be hired to transform the degraded area, including a series of gravel pits.

The Truckee River Flood Coordinating Committee recently voted to put the project, east of Tracy, on its fast-track list and recommended that the Washoe County Commission approve $3.1 million from a $4.7 million state grant for stream restoration work.

The Nature Conservancy is rounding up another $2.1 million in a desert lakes grants from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Much of the $5.2 million project is expected to qualify as a matching local share required for receiving federal money for the Truckee River flood-control project.

At the 102 Ranch, work would start late this summer when the river is low and would take two summers. Plans include a new river channel with two bends, replacing a section of straight channel built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers years ago.

Five cobble riffles in the riverbed would be built with 25,000 tons of river rock, creating new habitat for fish.

Five wetland areas would be built, reconnecting the river with its flood channel, Bakker said.

Rocks and dirt dug up in building the new section of the river would be used to help fill gravel pits on the ranch and create new wetland areas, Bakker said.

Also, The Nature Conservancy is monitoring the restoration of the McCarran Ranch in Lockwood and doing planning work for a similar river project at the Mustang Ranch.

The three projects combined will restore five miles of river in the East Truckee River Canyon.

Flood control officials have identified 11 sites along the river for restoration between Lockwood and Wadsworth.

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