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All improvements will be free and open to the public. Whitewater improvements will be designed for a wide range of boating enthusiasts of all skill levels, with emphasis on the beginner level. Annual boating events such as slalom races, down river races, and whitewater rodeo contests can also be held. At past race events sponsored by the local kayak club, 60 percent of the race participants have traveled from southern and northern California, southern Oregon, and Idaho. “Local” participants have come from Reno, Carson City, and Truckee. Other communities that have constructed similar projects have found them to be extremely popular among participants and spectators alike.
These proposed improvements will serve many users. The whitewater park design and pools will provide excellent fish habitat, and will improve the water quality of the river. Increased access will allow for greater educational opportunities along the river. Many fishermen could frequent the area both during boating season and during the off-season. Creative play areas with natural boulders and sandy riverside beach areas could be fun for children and their families. The areas will be popular for walkers, joggers, picnickers, and for just spending time next to the river to watch the boaters. Many disadvantaged citizens could use the area through city and school boating and adventure programs. Modification and removal of dams is consistent with the Flood Control Project.
The Truckee River through the warehouse district in Sparks, NV.
In-stream improvements are virtually maintenance-free unless there is a failure due to a major flooding event. Maintenance of future park improvements will require typical park maintenance for park areas, restrooms, plazas, etc. The entity that takes ownership of the improvements would be responsible for maintaining or assigning maintenance.
Because it will significantly enhance the aesthetic character of the Truckee River, these projects will establish the river as the focus and pride of the Reno/Sparks area, and stimulate and enhance urban economic activity. It will provide open space hubs and path connections in the urban setting. These projects are easily accessible in the Reno/Sparks area, and are connected to the existing and proposed Truckee River Trail.
Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers are currently working to develop a Truckee Meadows Regional Flood Control Project. The flood control project area encompasses the river corridor from Booth Street to the Lockwood area. The improvements recommended in this recreation plan are in concert with the Flood Control Project. Specifically, the recommended improvements effectuate the recommendations contained in the noted sections of the Community Coalition’s Draft Concept Proposal (1/13/01): 1) construct a fish friendly, dam-free, Whitewater Park and Kayak Course in downtown Reno; 2) redesign the river channel downtown; 3) redesign ditch intakes and diversion structures; 4) create new river parkway; 5) provide safe public access for walking, cycling, fishing and other recreational activities; 6) remove unnecessary floodwalls and rip-rap; 7) restore riparian vegetation; and, 8) minimize floodwalls and levees.
Kayakers playing on the Truckee River near Floriston, CA.
A primary goal for the improvements recommended in this river recreation plan is to improve river safety and enhance recreation opportunities. While many boaters currently use the Truckee River and negotiate the in-stream hazards, removal of the in-stream hazards will allow more people to safely use the river. The City of Reno, Sparks, and the State of Nevada Division of State Lands were contacted for the preparation of this document. There were no insurmountable issues identified and details of liability, and insurance requirements will be addressed at the time that the improvements are permitted. Currently, the Sierra Nevada Whitewater Club acquires insurance for their annual races. The City of Reno and the State of Nevada are named as additionally insured on the club’s insurance policy.
Other communities with river recreation projects have successfully addressed liability issues. Generally, special events require special insurance while the river parks are covered under umbrella policies.
Modifications to the bed or banks of the Truckee River would require approval from several agencies. A list of the permitting agencies and permits may include: