McCarran Ranch Preserve encompasses a Nature Conservancy project that is restoring the natural condition of the lower Truckee River east of the Reno / Sparks metro area. An initial restoration pilot project was completed in 2003, which established effective methods of bringing the river and surrounding riparian area back to the natural conditions existing before humans had done a lot of damage. The main thing altering the river was a 1960s flood control project that straightened and deepened the river's channel, causing groundwater levels to drop below what was needed to sustain streamside vegetation. According to the Nature Conservancy, approximately 90% of the riparian forest died and bird species using habitat in the area decreased by as much as 70%.
The Nature Conservancy has been working on lower Truckee River restoration for over 20 years. McCarran Ranch Preserve is just one part of the Nature Conservancy's string of projects, though it is the furthest along and developed to accommodate visitors and provide interpretive information about the Truckee River and what's being done to bring it back to a natural state. Other ongoing projects along this stretch of the lower Truckee River include 102 Ranch, Lockwood, and Mustang Ranch.
- About the McCarran Ranch Preserve
- Getting to the McCarran Ranch Preserve
- Things to do at McCarran Ranch Preserve
- Things not to do at McCarran Ranch Preserve
- Invasive Species at McCarran Ranch Preserve
- McCarran Ranch Preserve by the Numbers
Sources: Nature Conservancy McCarran Ranch Preserve website, Nature Conservancy Field Notes: Conservation News in Nevada.