Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB), the region’s nonprofit Keep America Beautiful affiliate known for programs like The Great Community Cleanup and Christmas Tree Recycling, received an anonymous donation in 2012 to help clean up the Truckee River. Having facilitated the work of thousands of volunteers over the years to create a cleaner and more beautiful Truckee Meadows, KTMB’s Board of Directors were inspired to move beyond cleanups toward identifying solutions to prevent littering and illegal dumping in the first place. As a result of that generous gift, KTMB started the Watershed Warriors educational program and expanded Adopt-A-Spot to the Truckee River. KTMB interacted with many river stakeholders and began to recognize that the lack of a comprehensive river plan limited the long-term solutions that could be pursued.
Like KTMB, Nevada Land Trust (NLT) had been working on and along the Truckee River since its founding in 1998. As Nevada’s first nonprofit independent conservation land rust, NLT helped Washoe County acquire eleven properties along the Truckee River in the east Truckee Meadows, and assisted with two more in the vicinity of Mogul. NLT also partnered with Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County to oversee treatment of invasive weed species in the Truckee River corridor, and to manage emergency watershed restoration efforts following recent wildfires in the area. NLT created the Truckee River Funding Working Group to advise the Washoe County Commission on how best to coordinate and leverage the $10M for the Truckee River included in State Question One passed by voters in 2002.
Recognizing that each organization had a longstanding commitment to the health and well-being of the Truckee River, as well as a shared desire to ensure that the gifts of donors and volunteers were used wisely and for maximum impact, KTMB and NLT joined forces to try a new approach. Confirming that many excellent but separate plans already existed that addressed specific issues or focus areas, the two organizations sought to weave them into a single comprehensive and coordinated document that better reflected the realities of an inter-connected river system. In so doing, gaps where more work and attention were required could also be identified and included. Knowing that individual programs and projects could be stronger by working together, and that traditional sectors and boundaries must be crossed to address all the issues affecting the Truckee River, One Truckee River was born.
Creating a comprehensive plan through collaboration and consideration of all activities, issues, and impacts on and along Nevada’s reach of the river became the first priority for One Truckee River. Nevada Land Trust and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful identified and convened a Core Planning Team in May 2015. (The Core Planning Team is now known as the Partnership Council in an effort to enact long-term structure and organization within the partnership.) Members of the group were invited to participate based on their understanding of and expertise in Truckee River issues and areas, and, perhaps most importantly, their ability to think beyond individual agendas to embrace the concept of an interrelated and collaborative whole.
With backgrounds ranging from health, law enforcement, and social services to recreation, wildlife, and water quality, the team provided project leadership and technical expertise to ensure engagement of the collective knowledge of the Truckee River community at all levels. The roles and responsibilities of the Partnership Council members include:
- Embraces the One Truckee River vision and goals and team core values.
- Contributes to development of a One Truckee River Management Plan, sharing expertise, and/or financial and in kind resources as available.
- Works cooperatively and collaboratively with other team members, openly communicating, and committed to listening, learning, and addressing challenges as a team to further One Truckee River vision and goals.
- Participates in project outreach and supports stakeholder and community participation and engagement.
- Serves as the primary liaison between the team and the designated agency or community partner, promoting the involvement of the partner agency or community interest (area) in the project.
- Participates in all team meetings to the maximum extent possible. Is an informed and active participant. If unable to participate thoroughly briefs alternates to facilitate participation.
With assistance from the National Park Service’s River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program expert Barbara Rice, the team developed the vision and initial goals for the One Truckee River Plan. In addition, they assessed the opportunities for and threats to the Truckee River, and identified key issues that would need to be addressed by the plan. Consensus emerged around nine categories that became the core One Truckee River emerging issues, and established the framework for the plan. The team also established the phases for the planning that have been dictated in part by available early funds for the effort, as well as by the pressing challenges unique to the more urban sections of the Truckee River. Phase One covers the Truckee River from West McCarran Boulevard in west Reno to Glendale Avenue in Sparks. Phase Two will cover the section downstream from Glendale to Pyramid Lake; Phase Three will cover upstream from West McCarran to the California state line.