Upper Truckee Marsh
California Tahoe Conservancy
California Tahoe Conservancy / California Wildlife Conservation Board / California Department of Fish and Wildlife / USDA Forest Service / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Bureau of Reclamation
Help Protect Tahoe
You can make a difference by showing your support of protecting Lake Tahoe by ordering your California Lake Tahoe license plate. Over 95 percent of the fees generated from sales help fund trails, water quality, and restoration projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The California Tahoe Conservancy plans to restore the complex and unique ecology of the Upper Truckee Marsh. The Conservancy will redirect the Upper Truckee River flows to a historical network of channels through the Marsh. The Marsh once covered 1,600 acres, but 20th century development destroyed much of the wetlands complex.
View information about the Upper Truckee Marsh annual seasonal dog closure.
Restoring the resiliency and ecological functions of the Upper Truckee Marsh
Construction of the Tahoe Keys neighborhood destroyed much of the wetlands in the 1950s and 1960s. The development of the Keys involved considerable dredging and filling of the area, as well as the channelization of the Upper Truckee River as it nears Lake Tahoe.
The Conservancy plans to restore and enhance over 500 acres of floodplain by returning river flows to the center of the Marsh. Returning river flows to the Marsh will enrich native fish and bird habitat. The restored Marsh will also act as natural pollution filter, improving water quality before it reaches Lake Tahoe. With the Marsh more wet, it will be more resilient to droughts, flooding, and other climate change impacts. The Conservancy will enhance public access and recreation opportunities in the northwest corner of the Marsh. The Conservancy also established a science advisory committee to guide the development of the project’s design and monitoring plans.
After several years of planning and public involvement, the Conservancy Board approved the preferred alternative for the project in December 2015.
The Conservancy and a contractor for the California Department of General Services (DGS) will redirect high river flows into historical channels in the center of the Marsh, convert the “Sailing Lagoon” to functioning wetland, remove fill material, and improve the trail to Cove East Beach. The existing Upper Truckee River channel will continue to carry all of the flow during low water periods. The Conservancy will pursue additional restoration activities after it completes these initial project elements.
Conservancy staff expects to construct this initial stage of the project between 2020 to 2023.
Funding for the Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration
The Conservancy and DGS estimate that they can construct the first stage for about $11.5 million. The Conservancy is providing funds from Propositions 12, 40, 50, 68, and 84, and from the Habitat Conservation Fund, with additional funding the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.