Published: Jun 17, 2022

Tahoe Conservancy to Begin Planning New Upper Truckee River Restoration

Conservancy and Tahoe Partners Also Dedicate Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.The California Tahoe Conservancy will begin planning a new project to restore a section of the Upper Truckee River in El Dorado County. The project will help Lake Tahoe’s largest inflowing stream become more resilient to climate change and will protect Lake Tahoe’s famous water clarity.

At its meeting yesterday, the Conservancy Board agreed to accept $500,000 in federal funding for the planning effort. The Conservancy plans to restore a section of the river and its floodplain near Lake Tahoe Airport and U.S. Highway 50. The restoration will increase climate resilience and enhance wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and water quality.

“Restoring the Upper Truckee River and its watershed is essential to the long-term health of Lake Tahoe,” said Conservancy Board Chair and El Dorado County Supervisor Sue Novasel. “It’s exciting to see how this project will build on past work done by the Conservancy and our partners to improve this stretch of the river.”

The restoration project will be part of a larger effort to restore the entire Upper Truckee River and watershed. Draining a third of the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Upper Truckee is Tahoe’s largest watershed.

The lower part of the watershed has undergone enormous change in the past century. Logging, grazing, and the development of roads, neighborhoods, and the airport have harmed the watershed. Developers altered and straightened the river channel. Wildlife habitat and water quality declined.

The planning activities will focus mostly on Conservancy property, along with some USDA Forest Service land.

Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway Dedication
People cutting a ribbon on a new shared-use trail
At the same meeting, the Conservancy celebrated the completion of critical sections of the Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway. The event also honored the legacy of Dennis T. Machida, the Conservancy’s first executive director. Members of the Machida family, Dennis’ former colleagues, agency partners, and community members joined in the celebration.

The Greenway provides the backbone of the south shore’s shared-use trail network. By filling key missing links in the local trail network, the Greenway makes it easier to get around South Lake Tahoe without a car. Climate resilience is embedded in the trail’s design, which protects sensitive stream corridors and wetland habitat, while providing a route that is less likely to be disrupted by flooding and severe storms.

View a Story Map about the Greenway’s history and potential future extensions.

Land Exchange with Tahoe City Public Utility District
Also at the meeting, the Conservancy Board approved a land exchange with the Tahoe City Public Utility District (TCPUD). The Conservancy will transfer 18 acres of land to the TCPUD, including properties near the Tahoe Cedars neighborhood in Tahoma and in the Highlands neighborhood east of Tahoe City. In return, the Conservancy will receive from the TCPUD 107 acres of environmentally sensitive, open space land near Quail Lake in the Homewood area. This exchange supports California’s Pathways to 30×30 strategy, as it increases the amount of state-owned land that the Conservancy will manage to protect wildlife habitat, biodiversity, open space, and public access.

Media Contact: Chris Carney, Communications Director, 530-543-6057,

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The California Tahoe Conservancy is a state agency, established in 1985, with a mission to lead California’s efforts to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Learn more at