Plan of attack for river erosion considered |

Plan of attack for river erosion considered

Gregory Crofton

Each spring people who run Lake Tahoe Golf Course call Cynthia Walck and tell her that more of their irrigation pipes have fallen into the Upper Truckee River because of erosion.

Walck, a hydrologist for California State Parks, which manages the land used for the course, said the section of river that runs through the sixth hole is 30 feet wider than it was 10 years ago. And all that dirt and sediment eventually ends up in Lake Tahoe.

A public meeting was conducted on Thursday at the clubhouse of the golf course to discuss what can be done to stop the erosion. The meeting drew about 20 people.

“It went well,” Walck said. “People recognize the river has a problem. We didn’t really decide anything … but people liked the idea of some sort of restoration.”

Restoration would cost $10 million to $20 million depending what type of work is involved. Walck and Mitchell Swanson, an environmental engineer, presented a variety of plans to address the erosion problem including a “No action” plan.

If nothing is done, over time it is estimated the river will flush 350,000 yards of sediment and other material into Lake Tahoe before it stabilizes.

Other options include:

n Lining the riverbed with large boulders. This would not improve vegetation along the river or fish or wildlife habitat.

n Excavate erosion prone areas of the river to prevent future erosion. This would improve vegetation and habitat along the river and affect three holes on the golf course.

n Construct a new bed for the river. The bed would be constructed so it meanders. That would slow the water down, reduce erosion and provide the greatest habitat improvement along the river. But this option would have the greatest impact on the golf course, affecting nine or 10 holes.

Walck said he hopes to know which of the options California State Parks will pursue by the fall.

“I don’t want to chose something and two or three years later have people say, ‘What are you doing?'” Walck said. “The best way to gain support really is through education.”

Walck plans to have a Web site set up for the restoration project by the end of June. She has already had two public meetings for the project and plans to conduct more. The next one will be June 3 at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course clubhouse, at 2500 Emerald Bay Road, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The meeting will include a field visit from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., a presentation from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. and an opportunity for the public to comment from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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