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These improvements are envisioned to be attractive, functional, permanent, and designed to blend in with, and improve, the natural environment. The whitewater park and related improvements would help create welcoming and attractive focal points for the cities of Reno and Sparks.
The following are specific improvements recommended for the Truckee River in order from upstream (west) to downstream (east).
General site description: Improvements have recently been completed at this park. The park site is generally in a natural and attractive condition providing good public access from the north bank. It has a high steep bank on the south bank, and good, moderate gradient near the Patagonia outlet store. There is a slow pool near the park. Large, natural-stone boulders are available along the bank and immediate area. Unsightly levees exist.
Recommended improvements: Designate and improve an upstream put-in area at Mayberry Park, improve the river access point, and install a current deflector and associated downstream eddy. Existing parking, restrooms, and park amenities should be utilized in siting these proposed amenities.
Improved access and revegetation are recommended at Mayberry Park.
General site description: There are several concrete blocks across the entire river. These are the remnants of a dam that is no longer in use. The blocks obstruct safe river passage.
Recommended improvements: Remove the concrete blocks and improve pedestrian bank access. This undeveloped park should be left in a natural state.
Ambrose Park Dam — Recommend Removal
General site description: The Chalk Bluff Dam is hazardous at both low and high flows. At low flows, there is no low-flow passage over the dam and the rough surface on the face of the dam can damage recreational river equipment. At high flows, typically greater than 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs), a deadly river-wide reversal wave typical of low-head dams is created at the toe of the dam. In the late 1990s the dam was modified in order to reduce the drowning hazard, however, at high flows a deadly river-wide hydraulic feature still develops at the base of the dam.
Recommended improvements: Modify the dam for safe passage during low and high water flows.
Modified dam for safe passage during low & high water flows.
Hazardous at most flows.
General site description: This is the biggest formal city park in Reno, and includes a pool, lake, playground, ballpark, and skateboard park. There is plenty of access and parking, as well as views of the river from the park trail. Unnatural grouted rock and rip-rap along the river bank prevents plant growth and diminishes biodiversity potential. Bank restoration would greatly improve stream functions and aesthetics to complement the bank. There is adequate gradient, but this river segment needs a low-flow (thalweg) channel, drops, and pools. The north side of the river is private land. There are no commercial enterprises or concessions at the park.
Recommended improvements: Implement bank and channel improvements including rip-rap removal, bank restoration, and access points at logical locations.
The Truckee River has similar potential.
General site description: This reach of the river runs through the heart of downtown Reno. Upstream (west) of Wingfield Park, the river is broad with low gradient and shallow cobble bottom. A narrow, formal park and trail are located along the north bank with rock gabion walls and railing separating the park from the river in most of the area. The south bank is high and has a parking area at Barbara Bennett Park near Wingfield Park. From Arlington Avenue to Lake Street, the river is confined within concrete walls and has moderate gradient, a wide channel, and little or no features in the river bottom. With the exception of the parkland and trees at the Wingfield Park island, bank vegetation, in-stream boulders, drops and pools are noticeably missing. This area is within a short walking distance from the major casinos and is visible from both sides of the river and from numerous bridges. There is considerable pedestrian traffic in the area and tremendous potential for riverside businesses and river-oriented opportunities.
Wingfield Park is an island with pedestrian bridges connecting it from both banks of the river. It has an outdoor amphitheater and sodded park areas. There is a retired, concrete diversion structure across the north channel upstream of Arlington Avenue that has large boulders and debris at the base of the drop. The boulders and debris create an entrapment hazard and can damage recreational equipment. Pedestrian/bike trails are located on both sides of the river in most areas, but are isolated from the river by the vertical concrete walls and do not connect under the bridges.
Recommended improvements: Create a whitewater park with amenities recommended in the WHITEWATER SLALOM COURSE FEASIBILITY STUDY funded by NCOT. These amenities include whitewater boating improvements, in-stream fish habitat structures, a whitewater kayak slalom course at Wingfield Park in the south channel, modifications to the abandoned drop structure, and removal and modifications to existing floodwalls. The following figure and conceptual drawings illustrate some of the recommended improvements.
The Truckee River through downtown Reno has great potential for developed whitewater recreation.
General site description: These are small, attractive, natural parks. The river characteristics are conducive to whitewater boating improvements.
Recommended improvements: Cleanup and remove the broken riprap and concrete along the river. Create natural-appearing bank access and riverside beach improvements. Restore disturbed areas with native vegetation.
Natural bank access at Vail, CO.
The rock rip-rap limits river access.
General site description: This river-wide diversion is created by concrete debris. The diversion design is dangerous and unattractive.
Recommended improvements: Modify the diversion structure. Provide for stable diversion capability, design proper boat passage and fish passage, improve beauty and stability of the structure by using large natural stone boulders anchored into place, improve flood-carrying capacity.
Modified diversions may be fun places to play.
The Glendale Diversion Dam is unattractive and hazardous.
General site description: This river-wide diversion is created by large boulders and concrete debris. The diversion design is dangerous to recreational use, prohibits natural fish passage and provides difficult operation and maintenance for the agricultural users.
Recommended improvements: Modify the diversion structure. Provide for stable diversion capability, create proper boat and fish passage, improve beauty and stability of the structure by using large natural stone boulders anchored into place, and improve flood-carrying capacity. The following perspective illustrates some of the recommended improvements.
Kayaker plays on a modified dam on Boulder Creek, CO.
The poorly designed Pioneer Diversion Dam is just upstream of Rock Park.
General site description: This is a small, attractive, natural park. Amenities include picnic shelters, parking, and restrooms.
Recommended improvements: Clean up and remove broken riprap and concrete along the river and create natural-appearing bank access and riverside beach improvements. Restore disturbed areas with native vegetation. Create in-stream whitewater improvements including surf waves and other whitewater features, and a boat take-out area. The following perspective illustrates some of the recommended improvements.
The Arkansas River in Salida, CO used to look similar to the Truckee River through Sparks, NV.
General site description: The river trail system parallels the river from the east side of Sparks to Mayberry Park. The trail is generally asphalt or concrete and traverses numerous small, attractive, park areas. The trail is discontinuous at most intersections west of Sparks.
Recommended improvements: Build underpasses and connections at every street crossing to provide continuity and safety. These new underpasses in the downtown Reno area include Booth, Arlington, Sierra, Virginia, Center, and Lake Streets. Provide at-grade ramps on the sides of each underpass. Adopt new bike/pedestrian bridges at Wingfield Park and upstream of Booth Street. Adopt a new trail design standard to provide for a minimum 10-foot wide, six-inch thick concrete trail with adequate curve radii, grades, sight distance, etc. Create direct trail connections to and from area and regional destinations. These destinations should include major parks, schools, neighborhoods, commercial areas, and employment centers. Of special note is the opportunity to build a trail in Sparks connecting the Truckee River Trail along the North Truckee Drain to the People's Ditch in the Sparks Marina area.
River trail at Fishermans Park, Sparks, NV