Upper Truckee Marsh

Upper Truckee Marsh


The California Tahoe Conservancy has completed construction for a major project to restore the complex and unique ecology of the Upper Truckee 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

The Tahoe Keys neighborhood construction destroyed much of the wetlands in the 1950s and 1960s. The Keys developers dredged and filled the area, and channelized the Upper Truckee River as it nears Lake Tahoe.

The Conservancy restored and enhanced over 250 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. Rewetting the 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 also enhanced public access and recreation opportunities in the northwest corner of the Marsh.

Input from a science advisory committee guided the development of the project’s design and monitoring plans.

Restoration Elements

The Conservancy and a contractor for the California Department of General Services (DGS) constructed new channels to redirect high river flows into historical channels in the center of the Marsh, converted the “Sailing Lagoon” at Cove East to functioning wetlands, removed fill material, and improved the trail to Cove East Beach. The existing Upper Truckee River channel will continue to carry all of the flow during low water periods. 

Construction began in 2020 and concluded in October 2022.The Conservancy will maintain the restoration elements and trail, and expects to pursue further restoration activities in the future.

New channel creation
New channel creation
New channel creation

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Funding for the Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration

Construction for the project cost $11.5 million. The Conservancy provided funds from Propositions 12, 40, 50, 68, and 84, and from the Habitat Conservation Fund, with additional funding from 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.

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Project Details


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


View the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Statement (December 2015)


Truckee Marsh,