For decades, the Truckee River east of Reno and Sparks suffered through a series of flood control projects, diversions, and other human alterations to its natural and undisturbed state. The results weren't pretty - a ditch for the river and death for the riparian area and flood plain along its course.
McCarran Ranch Preserve on the Truckee River.
Photo © Stan White
Enter the Nature Conservancy and its McCarran Ranch Preserve project, designed to restore the Truckee River's natural meanders and the lush riparian forest that once lined its banks, providing valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. At the same time, the project has actually improved flood protection for the upstream Reno / Sparks metro area by providing a place for flood waters to spread out harmlessly rather than inundating the cities.
After almost 10 years of work, the Nature Conservancy recently opened the McCarran Ranch Preserve to public visitation. Interpretive signs along the walking / biking trail next to the Truckee River provide a guide along the way and explain why restoring the river to a more natural state is beneficial for both humans and wilfife. It's only about 15 minutes east and is a great outing and place to enjoy a quiet picnic.
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