By Scott Hess
Tribune News Service
TRUCKEE - This mountain town's ever-changing Trout Creek is one step closer to being restored close to its original state.
Relying on old topographical maps and word-of-mouth, Truckee town staff proposed to restore the creek, which senior civil engineer Pat Perkins said has been "heavily disturbed in the last 100 years." Thursday, the town council approved the first stage of the project: developing the plan.
The entire council supported the plan, which calls for not only the restoration of the creek, but also flood mitigation measures.
Town staff recognized the three goals of the Trout Creek Restoration Project as restoring a 6,600-foot section of the creek from Bridge Street in the historic downtown district to the confluence of the Truckee River, constructing "detention basins" to treat storm water runoff and mitigate the possibility of a flood.
The restoration also calls for the implementation of additional water treatment for the creek, which the town says will help fish habitat.
Perhaps the biggest job in the restoration is renovating the creek bed. "We're going to keep (the creek) in the same creek bed, but make the creek meander back and forth," Perkins said before the town council hearing. This, in turn, would also create wetland areas around the meandering creek.
While the town would like to return Trout Creek close to its original state, Perkins said at the hearing it is impossible; parts of the original creek bed are now covered by buildings in downtown.
Another obstacle: The town does not own all the property the creek currently runs through. "We still have some property issues to work out," Perkins said.
The town hopes to include the public mostly through outreach programs to the schools, Perkins said. Activities like monitoring the water in the creek and checking acidity levels, as well as monitoring habitats in and around the creek, could be beneficial to both students and the town, he said.
The project carries an estimated price tag of $1.5 million, but will be mostly paid by two grants: one from the California State Parks Department and the other from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.