eaver dams are no longer a barrier in the completion of the Trout Creek bridge project on Donner Pass Road in Truckee.
The Town of Truckee worked with the Department of Fish and Game, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an environmental consultant to remove the beaver dams that have changed the flow of Trout Creek. The creek cleanup is one of a few remaining projects for the town to complete since the new Trout Creek bridge was installed in early October, said the town's Director of Public Works Dan Wilkins.
The bridge is the first phase of the Trout Creek restoration project, which addresses flooding downtown that has damaged a number of buildings, including Assumption Catholic Church, in January 1997 and December 2005.
The overall project will rehabilitate a three-mile stretch of the waterway in the next two to five years.
"The capacity of the (new bridge culvert) structure is four times greater than before," Wilkins said.
For the past few years, the flow of Trout Creek has been interrupted by beaver dams that has caused the creek level to rise three to four feet in the winter, Wilkins said.
"Beavers are a natural part of the ecosystem," said Brian Barton, supervising ranger for California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe sector.
Although beavers are sometimes thought to be pests, the furry rodents do benefit the environment, he said. Beavers create wetlands by making dams that recharge the groundwater.
Wilkins said the rising creek level is detrimental to water quality. Crews de-watered and dredged a 500 -foot section of the waterway, beginning from Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company along Donner Pass Road, in order to remove several beaver dams, Wilkins said.
Rocklin-based environmental consulting group ECORP was on hand to oversee the de-watering of the creek and the relocation of fish. No wildlife was harmed during the de-watering project, Wilkins said.
The project was accomplished in two days and the creek is now situated in its final alignment. The town will now focus on revegetation along Trout Creek and take care of storm-drain work to wrap up construction, Wilkins said.