Truckee River - Sediment
H.U. 635.20

The entire Truckee River watershed covers approximately 2,720 square miles (Desert Research Institute [DRI], 2001) and includes the Lake Tahoe, Truckee River, and Pyramid Lake systems in California and Nevada. The river has its headwaters in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, where it flows into the southern end of Lake Tahoe. This reach, from the headwaters to South Lake Tahoe, is known as the Upper Truckee River.

At the northern end of Lake Tahoe, the major tributaries to the Truckee River in California include Bear, Squaw, Donner/Cold, Trout, Martis, Prosser, Juniper, Gray and Bronco creeks, and the Little Truckee River. A small concrete dam controls outflow into the Truckee River at Tahoe City, where it flows generally north and east toward its terminus in Pyramid Lake, Nevada. The Middle Truckee River (from the outlet of Lake Tahoe at Tahoe City to the California/Nevada state line) is impaired by sediment from stormwater and legacy sites. Local dam releases, snowmelt, thunderstorms and stormwater runoff contribute to turbidity spikes, which temporarily increase sediment concentration [but still falls below the 90th percentile annual threshold] that affect the in-stream aquatic beneficial uses. The Lahontan Regional Water Board developed the Truckee River TMDL for sediment to address the sediment impairment. 

Beneficial uses ascribed to the Truckee River:

  • Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN)
  • Groundwater Recharge (AGR)
  • Industrial Service Supply (IND)
  • Groundwater Recharge (GWR)
  • Freshwater Replenishment (FRSH)
  • Hydropower Generation (POW)
  • Water Contact Recreation (REC-1)
  • Non-Contact Water Recreation (REC-2)
  • Commercial and Sport fishing (COMM)
  • Cold Freshwater Habitat (COLD)
  • Wildlife Habitat (WILD)
  • Rare and Endangered Species Habitat (RARE)
  • Migration of Aquatic Organisms (MIGR)
  • Spawning, Reproduction and Development (SPWN)

The Truckee River Watershed: Gray Creek and Bronco Creek

Gray and Bronco creek watersheds are adjacent drainages located in the eastern portion of the Truckee River TMDL project area, near the California/Nevada state line. They discharge into the Truckee River upstream of the US Geological Survey's (USGS) gauging station at Farad in Nevada County. Both creeks have their headwaters in the Mount Rose wilderness area of Nevada, and the majority of their drainage areas are in Nevada. The designated uses for Gray and Bronco creeks are MUN, AGR, GWR, REC-1, REC-2, COMM, COLD, WILD, RARE, and SPWN.

Available Documents

Background Documents