Truckee River Watershed: Steamboat Creek

One of the last tributaries on your way out of town (heading east) is the famous Steamboat Creek.

“Now how in the world is a creek famous?” you may wonder.

Well, around these parts, Steamboat Creek drains over 156,000 acres of land — more than any other creek in the Truckee Meadows region! Steamboat Creek starts down south at Washoe Lake and heads north, collecting water from Mount Rose, Southwest Reno, and the airport, and ultimately ends up in the Truckee River, right next to the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility.

The Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) sits on the eastern edge of Sparks, just south of the Truckee River.
A view from the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, looking at the Truckee River. You can just see where Steamboat Creek enters the river. The Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility is on the left had side.
A closer look at where Steamboat Creek enters the Truckee River.

In addition to those 156,000 acres, water that cycles through the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility ends up very fresh and very clean and is put into Steamboat Creek to almost immediately enter the Truckee River. (More on that process here.)

According to the City of Reno, the thick algae growing on the surface on Steamboat Creek means agriculture waste, fertilizers, and/or carwash soaps are ending up in the tributary. Bummer.

Noxious weeds are pretty common along this creek, and in some parts these weeds are the only plant seen. This includes tall whitetop, purple loosestrife and musk thistle.

Wildlife found is similar across the entire watershed, and includes:  black bear, bobcat, red fox, rattlesnake, bald eagle, golden eagle, barn owl, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, pacific chorus frog, and monarch butterfly.

Photos below were taken farther south down Steamboat Creek:

A look at Steamboat Creek after it passes under Pembroke Drive in the Hidden Valley area, heading north to its final destination: the Truckee River.
The creek passing by RC Willey in South Reno.
The creek passing by RC Willey in South Reno.