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Forest thinning project near Stampede Reservoir aims to improve Truckee River water quality

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Comstock-era logging and fire suppression have created an overcrowded forest near Stampede Reservoir. On top of that, drought conditions, insects and disease have killed trees officials say are now in need of thinning.

The U.S. Forest Service and Truckee Meadows Water Authority are partnering on a multi-year effort to thin the overgrown and diseased trees in order to reduce runoff into the Truckee River, reduce soil erosion and increase the resilience of the forest.

“This project offers TMWA a tangible way to help protect water quality and storage reliability on the Truckee River system,” said John Enloe, TMWA’s director of natural resources. “Wildfire poses a real threat to our drought reserves, and we are continuing to explore more collaborations like this to help us be proactive in addressing the risk for our community.”

The forest project is estimated to cost $3.8 million and work is expected to continue through 2025. 

Officials said wildfires can introduce contaminants into the ecosystem, and ultimately the water supply, when associated ash and eroded soil enters rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

“Improving forest health across the middle Truckee River watershed is an essential part of providing clean, safe drinking water to the citizens of California and Nevada,” said Rachel Hutchinson, acting Sierraville district ranger with the Forest Service.

Source: TMWA

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