Reno’s new homeless overflow shelter

The One Truckee River Initiative’s purpose is to manage, protect and provide stewardship for Northern Nevada’s Truckee River. That purpose includes all aspects that are affecting the river, both in and along.

One of the perks of our initiative is that we consist of partners who are working with their own organizations on improving the Truckee River and its influence. On June 26 the Reno Police Department and the Community Assistance Center (CAC) opened up a homeless overflow shelter.

In the One Truckee River meetings so far, and from our own experiences, we have discussed and understand that the presence of people camping illegally along the river is very much a reality. With the new overflow shelter in place, progress is being made.

The shelter, located at 790 Sutro St. and available for both men and women, isn’t the only step. Through an educational campaign, Community Action Officers (CAO) with the RPD have been reaching out to educate illegal campers on the river of the new shelter.

Once the CAO have made contact with a homeless camp, they refer the campers to the CAC to be put on a list for the overflow shelter which opens each night at 8 p.m. Once the camper is officially checked in, they are provided transportation to the overflow shelter which can accommodate up to 100 people.

The RPD and CAC are focusing on the Truckee River Corridor for these efforts, which extends from Stephenson Street east to Wells Avenue, and will cover areas within 350 feet of the river.

Once the educational campaign is complete, officers will begin issuing misdemeanor citations to those who have been previously warned about camping illegally along the river.

Upcoming Truckee River Service Opportunities (6/25)

The Truckee River Watershed Council‘s latest service opportunities are listed below. One is this Saturday, so mark your calendars!

  • Aquatic Monitoring Field Collection: Volunteers will spend the morning monitoring stream health. This will include getting in the water to collect water quality and habitat data and stream insects. Equipment provided; locations vary. Contact Beth at 530-5508760 x1 to help out. Saturday, June 27 at 9 a.m. and Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 5 p.m.
  • River Talk: The River Talk is a one hour virtual tour of a few of TRWC’s projects throughout the watershed. It is a chance for guests to learn about the work and for TRWC to receive their comments and feedback. No financial contributions will be asked. Please call Brenda Gilbert at (530) 550-8760 x5 to RSVP or for any questions. Thursday, July 9, 2015 from 6-7 p.m.

Initial Stakeholder Meeting #2

Just over a month after the kick-off meeting for the One Truckee River initiative, core stakeholders met again for round two. On June 23, 2015, those involved gathered once again at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada to further discuss vision and future of the Truckee River.

National Park Service representative Barbara Rice began by asking the other 22 reps for any comments or changes on the ground rules, roles of partners, and core values of the One Truckee River plan. No changes were made.

From there, environmental steward Alex Hoeft, who works with Nevada Land Trust, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and National Park Service, introduced the communications strategy for One Truckee River. Alex went through the short-, medium- and long-term goals for communications, including social media, blog posts, website creation and maintenance, surveys, videos and future funding.

After the communications strategy was introduced, Alex showed the participants around the website, followed by social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Once the communications portion of One Truckee River was finished up, Barbara took over again to have all members divide up into three groups for a Truckee River issue identification.

IMG_0392Stakeholders broke up into three groups and assessed Truckee River opportunities and threats and identified key issues that will need to be addressed in the management plan. The input and reflection will be considered as the group prepares final goals for this planning effort, which will be addressed in preparation of a scope of work for the Truckee River Management Plan.

A quick summary of each group’s threats and opportunities involving the Truckee.

Group One:

  • Threats: restrooms (safety and illicit activities); storage for personal property; drought and climate change; maintenance responsibilities and lack of coordination; lack of funding; invasive species; social issues; crime; littering; public safety; water quality; beavers
  • Opportunities: restrooms; river as economic resource; more livable communities/quality of life; increased local use; increased tourism; funding opportunities; increased special events; increased collaboration and coordination; increased education and public outreach; adopt-a-river; increased access; vendors/concessions; increased public safety; increased recreation; overflow shelters and education

Group Two:

  • Threats: maintenance; population growth; communication/coordination; funding; oversight/authority; storm drains; trash; homelessness; fires; oversight and authority
  • Opportunities: education; ownership/volunteer; easier waste disposal; recreation

Group Three: 

  • Threats: clarity and understanding previous planning efforts; safety in and along river; lack of access points; impacts of recreation (trash, erosion, lack of facilities); public awareness (why should I care?); impacts to locals/business owners/river users; urban run-off; homelessness; perception of One Truckee River group as “exclusive”; wildlife conflicts and impact (beavers, raccoons as threats); flooding; oversight and authority; drought/rising water temps
  • Opportunities: community ownership; volunteer opportunities; OTR inclusivity; fly fishing, birding, bats, etc.; youth component; tourism/recreation; long-term sustainable funding; highlighting art and culture/history; river ranger program; community and education events; break down jurisdictional boundaries; safety; bringing together agencies to collaborate; new opportunity for awareness

From these threats and opportunities, Barbara then led the groups in identifying key issues to focus on in the initiative. The issues are still being fine-tuned, but include public health, water quality and sustainable funding. A full list will be posted soon.

The spotlight then fell on Nevada Land Trust’s Lynda Nelson to discuss future planning. Lynda discussed with the group the September forum, a potential contractor, and the day and time of the next meeting.

The meeting ended at 1:28 p.m.

Truckee River Day, Oct. 18, 2015

It’s never too early to mark your calendar, right? So break out that red pen and write this in all caps: the 20th Annual Truckee River Day will be held Oct. 18, 2015!

Our friends at the Truckee River Watershed Council put together a day of river, meadow and wetland restoration in honor of the lifeblood of the Reno-Sparks area — our beloved Truckee River.

Those hoping to volunteer are encouraged to register and participate in the planting of seedlings and willows at restoration sites, removing of invasive vegetation and garbage, composting and mulching sensitive areas, and more. The projects will begin at either 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. and end between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Registration doesn’t begin until approximately a month before the event, and potential volunteers must register to participate.

After the restoration projects are complete, a River Fair will be held at the Granite Flat Campground to celebrate the Truckee River. At the campground will be live music and entertainment, art projects, a Lahontan cutthroat trout release (bring a clean pail or bucket to carry the fish to the river!), and environmental education activities.

More information about the event can be found here and here.

Who we are, what we do

The Truckee River flows from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. Running northeast from California to Nevada for 121 miles, it is a vital source of drinking water, wildlife habitat, agriculture, irrigation and recreational opportunities.

Many organizations in Northern Nevada have taken on some of the challenges and done great work on their own to take care of the river, but there is no all-encompassing management plan. No single system or organization oversees the quality of life aspects, recreation, water quality, invasive species, stewardship and protection issues, environmental education, social service elements, and restoration all at once.

That’s where Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) and Nevada Land Trust (NLT) come in. NLT and KTMB, along with the National Park Service and other partners, have implemented the One Truckee River Initiative, working together for a sustainable, clean, thriving river community.

The vision is simple: One Truckee River is a collaboration of public and private partners working together to realize a Truckee River that flows clear and clean, quenches our thirst, sustains the river’s natural ecology and  wildlife, and connects residents and visitors to unparalleled opportunities for recreation and regeneration.

A small initial group has met and begun to guide the first steps. The planning effort will require those involved to bring their best results, concerns and ideas to the collective table.

The initiative’s goals include promoting social, cultural, educational and physical connections between people and the Truckee River. The initiative also seeks to assure the protection of the Truckee River’s natural resources, including its water, plants and wildlife. The final goal is to support and promote outdoor education and local river stewardship so that the Truckee River is cared for today and into the future. (The other goals can be found here.)

In the fall of 2015, a community forum will take place, inviting the public and stakeholders to gather together to discuss the importance of and the future of the river, and how the One Truckee River Initiative can forward that process.

The initiative is currently organized into three geographically-defined phases.

  • Phase One: West McCarran to Glendale Water Treatment Facility
  • Phase Two: Glendale Water Treatment Facility to Pyramid Lake
  • Phase Three: Stateline to West McCarran

Imagine how much stronger we can all be working together to take care of the Truckee River we know and love.

Follow our journey by visiting OneTruckeeRiver.org, and following/liking us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Upcoming Truckee River service opportunities

The Truckee River Watershed Council has filled the month of June with opportunities to improve the Truckee River. Listed below are options to help our beloved river:

  • Aquatic Monitoring Field Collection: Volunteers will spend the morning monitoring stream health. This will include getting in the water to collect water quality and habitat data and stream insects. Equipment provided; locations vary. Contact Beth at 530-5508760 x1 to help out. Saturday, June 13 at 9 a.m.
  • Weed Warriors Steering Committee: Regular meeting for those involved in Weed Warriors program to advise and collaborate. Contact Jeannette Halderman at 530-550-8760 x6 for agenda items. Wednesday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Weed Work Day – Boca Dam: Volunteers 10 and older will help control invasive weeds on Boca Hill. Lunch and tools for pulling weeds are provided; volunteers encouraged to bring gloves, hat, sunscreen and water. RSVP with Jeannette Halderman at 520-550-8760 x6 or jhalderman@truckeeriverwc.org by June 10. Thursday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Water Quality Monitoring: The Adopt-A-Stream team will meet for hands-on water quality monitoring during a three-day period. Data will be used to identify restoration and and protection needs. Thursday-Sunday, June 18-20, 8:00 a.m.

June 3 cleanup

After the May 27 cleanup along the south side of the Truckee River from Wells Avenue to Aces Ballpark, Northern Nevada HOPES and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful decided a northern shore sweep would also be necessary, and on Wednesday, June 3, that cleanup was implemented.

This sweep began at the north side of the Wells Avenue bridge to Lake Street/Aces Ballpark. On the river path the volunteers found approximately 45 discarded syringes and collected about 380 grams of syringes and other related injection and substance use related materials.

Just like on May 27, the group did a lot of outreach with the folks camped along the riverbank by both providing supplies and educating them about what the volunteers were doing and what those camping on the river could do to help.

May 27 cleanup

On Wednesday, May 27, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and Northern Nevada HOPES performed a Truckee River cleanup from Wells Avenue to Aces Ballpark along the south side of the river.

The volunteers found 25 syringes along with other items that, in total, amounted to 438 grams. A lot of needles were collected, but the group was especially disappointed by the amount of other debris along the river.

During the cleanup, volunteers were able to interact with the people camped out by the river — a nice and educational moment for everyone involved.

The group plans to perform the same cleanup along the north side of the river (from Wells Avenue to Aces Ballpark) within the next week. There are more camps along the northern bank, and the group expects an increase in findings.

River Tour, Champion Park to Aces Stadium

One day prior to the kick-off meeting, the core staff of the One Truckee River Management Plan participated in a river tour led by Pat Kleames, a City of Reno volunteer ranger.

Christi Cakiroglu (KTMB), Lynda Nelson (NLT), Barbara Rice (NPS) and Alex Hoeft (environmental steward with all three organizations) met up with Pat at John Champion Park in Reno, Nev. to see the current state of a portion of the Truckee River. The group didn’t take the main biking and walking path on the south side of the river, and instead mostly walked along the northern edge to get a good view of homeless camps.

Along the way, Pat, Christi, Lynda, Barbara and Alex came across many camps, plenty of litter and trash, pit bulls being held back by their owner, and a City of Reno policeman biking the path around the river.

The slideshow below shows what the group encountered. All photos were taken by Lynda Nelson.

Kick-off Meeting

The kick-off meeting for the One Truckee River Management Plan was a success. On Thursday, May 21, 2015, stakeholders from many different organizations gathered to discuss the vision and future of the Truckee River.

Participants began by sharing personal insights of their experiences along the river. Examples included recreation (fly fishing, biking, hiking), water supply, values of the river, and its overall part in Northern Nevada’s thriving community.

Alicia Reban, co-executive director of Nevada Land Trust, then shared with the stakeholders the history of work and effort around the Truckee River. She explained that the management plan should go beyond the river’s water quality and recreation and social issues because the river is what links us as a people. Closing with a quote by Edward Abbey, Alicia said, “The river is the soul of the desert.”

Then Barbara Rice, representative of National Park Service and a facilitator at the meeting, and Lynda Nelson, natural resources specialist with Nevada Land Trust, asked everyone what the goals of the group were concerning Truckee River. Some of the responses are listed below:

  • To have a river corridor to be proud of; presence of enforcement (river ranger) in the environment (Jennifer Fonda, KTMB).
  • Getting the mentally-ill into treatment; substance-abusing and homeless into care; addressing those who don’t want help (Sheila Leslie, Washoe County Social Services).
  • Balance the natural environment with the management of the social environment (Susan Lynn, Truckee River Fund).
  • Involve businesses along the river (Susan Lynn, Truckee River Fund).
  • Create an ecosystem for all; ease access and maintenance of paths and trails; connect people back to the river (Lieutenant Amy Newman, Reno Police Department).
  • Engage homeless and homeless youth (Alicia Reban, Nevada Land Trust).

IMG_1349From there, the group discussed what the values and roles of the team would be. Mostly these were positive-enforcing ideas (be honest and open; respect others; remember everyone has the same goal, etc.).

Barbara then shifted the group’s focus to bringing others aboard. “Who’s missing at this meeting?” she asked. Stakeholders volunteered ideas like the City of Sparks, Reno Bike Project, EDAWN, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Sheriff’s office, Waste Management, educators at the university and local schools.

Concerning community outreach and engagement, Lynda brought up the river forum planned for fall of 2015. The goal of the forum being to “broaden awareness about the qualities of the river, (and) put it in a positive light.”

Social media strategies were also mentioned — the creation of a website and accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram would be necessary.

In closing, the group discussed follow-up actions. Defined roles, values, goals and a vision would be distributed by email, Lynda would research samples of other river projects done across the country, and a schedule survey would be sent out for the next meeting.

Overall, stakeholders experienced many positives during the meeting, including the positive atmosphere, the space and the coffee and mini muffins (provided by Christi — thanks!). The only negatives mentioned were the jargon tendency and the possibility of not getting things done.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and finished at 12:00 p.m. on the dot.

Detailed minutes of the kick-off meeting can be found here.