TRUCKEE, Calif. — Everyone may play a role to protect the Truckee River watershed, and the involvement of local homeowners is essential. Science shows implementation of soil erosion control measures on developed properties, including your home, is a critical step toward improving and preserving water quality.
The Truckee River Watershed Council’s River-Friendly Landscaping program helps homeowners prevent or reduce soil erosion from area residential properties, a major source of pollution in area streams and the Truckee River.
The soil that erodes from residential properties is nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. NPS is caused by any water such as rainfall, snowmelt, or even from irrigation and hoses, moving over and through the ground. As the water moves, it picks up and carries pollutants, such as phosphorus, depositing them into rivers, wetlands, and lakes.
River-Friendly Landscaping participants have implemented more than 160 soil erosion control measures to prevent NPS pollution. These measures are also referred to “Best Management Practices,” or BMPs.
BMPs are a way to describe practices that could be implemented to protect water quality and promote soil conservation. For homeowners, BMPs are a “measure” installed to capture runoff or ground cover vegetation over bare soil areas.
What difference does one home make?
With no BMPs installed on your property, an average of one ton of soil may be lost per year, per lot. (Derived by NRCS/USDA from USLE home sites.)
Simple measures often make the most difference. TRWC’s top recommended measures after visiting more than 300 area homes are:
Driplines: Runoff from your rooftop can cause “drip line erosion.” Roofs are impervious surfaces and rain that drips below the eaves can cause significant erosion and water damage. Using gravel, vegetation or other measures under driplines protects the area, allowing runoff to soak back into the ground.
Bare soil: Bare soil areas are hot spots for erosion, susceptible to wind and water, that can carry soil off the property to streams and rivers. Native or adapted drought tolerant plants combined with mulch creates a low maintenance landscape and is great for stabilizing soils.
River-Friendly Landscaping is a free, voluntary program that provides you with a site plan and assistance to install erosion control measures. Get a free site evaluation to help understand how to landscape your property and protect native ecosystems.
Qualifying homeowners can receive up to $1,000 in reimbursement for labor and material costs until all rebate funds are exhausted. To join in the effort, call 530-550-8760, ext. 3.
Truckee River Watershed Council brings the community “Together for the Truckee.” It focuses on collaborative solutions for the protection, enhancement and restoration of the Truckee River watershed. Visit www.truckeeriverwc.org.