Motorists may need a detour |

Motorists may need a detour

Emily Aughinbaugh

Motorists who travel Tahoe Keys Boulevard may want to take alternate routes starting next week.

The California Tahoe Conservancy Upper Truckee River restoration began this week and trucks full of dirt are scheduled to come through the area by June 1.

Steve Goldman, the Conservancy’s natural resources program manager, said flaggers will be stationed where Venice Drive, Washington Street and U.S. Highway 50 intersect Tahoe Keys Boulevard.

Goldman said trucks scheduled six minutes apart will haul dirt from the site to Washoe Meadows State Park for three months, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The dirt is coming from an area between the Tahoe Keys Marina and the Upper Truckee River. It is the first step in the Conservancy’s $7.5 million restoration project to lower about 11 acres of the site to create a wetland.

Excavation and removal of the dirt is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 15.

Goldman said the Conservancy hopes to start some of the extensive site revegetation this year, which is scheduled to take three years to mature.

He said dry winter and spring months allowed for the project to go forward as planned.

Because of the low water table workers won’t have to pump out much water, if any, when they dig 4 to 5 feet.

“We really got lucky weather-wise,” Goldman said. “If the lake had been as high as in years past we may have had to postpone the project.”

The Upper Truckee River is estimated to be responsible for 30 percent of the sediment dumped into Lake Tahoe, which contains nutrients that spur algae growth responsible for the decline of the lake’s famed clarity.

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