LTBMU Riverine Restoration Program

Cold Creek at High Meadows

Cold Creek at High Meadows, post restoration


The LTBMU has had the opportunity to apply the most current principles in the art and science of implementing stream channel restoration projects, including rigorous post project monitoring.  From sharing our experiences we hope to contribute to advancing learning in this field, through both our successes as well as those efforts that fell short.  We have provided links to summary information that provides information on the accomplishments and outcomes of our program and projects. We have also provided links for current and would be practitioners to dive into the data and detailed analysis from our post project effectiveness monitoring reports. These reports provide a science based assessment of the ecosytem benefits resulting from our projects, including lessons learned.  The following describes the type of information presented in the links on the right side of this page.

  • Quick Links - Overview of program accomplishments and lessons learned
  • Highlights - Fact Sheets for individual projects
  • Related Links - the nitty-gritty, detailed restoration effectiveness monitoring analysis reports.

Below we have also provided links to a recently completed video describing and illustrating the benefits of meadow and stream channel restoration in the Lake Tahoe Basin, as well as a slideshow that provides an entertaining visual tour of large scale meadow and stream channel restoration actions.


Meadow and Stream Channel Restoration in the Lake Tahoe Basin


Restoration Actions in Blackwood Creek and Cold Creek at High Meadows:


Please scroll to the bottom of this page for a brief description of restoration program activity currently underway.  We hope sharing our experiences will help others who are endeavoring in this extremely challenging, and rewarding area of ecosystem restoration


LTBMU Riverine Restoration Goals

At the outset for each project a set of specific restoration goals were identified during the planning process, based on the restoration potential determined for the site. This helped not only guide the development of the restoration approach, but was also useful for providing the framework for project effectiveness monitoring. Although specific restoration objectives differed somewhat between projects, the following summarizes the restoration goals that apply to the LTBMU riverine restoration program as a whole.

Raise elevation of incised channels relative to the floodplain surface to restore hydrologic connectively to the floodplain, increasing frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and groundwater levels.

  • Resulting in reduced /attenuated peak flows and filtering of sediment and nutrients onto the floodplain.
  • Resulting in increased plant available water, late in the summer.
  • Resulting in transformation of floodplain vegetation and wildlife communities to wet meadow flora and fauna​​​

Construct/reconstruct channels with appropriate geomorphology, gradient, sinuosity, and structural components to provide dynamically resilient channels with high quality aquatic habitat features.

  • Resulting in overall reduction in stream channel erosion (and reducing fine sediment affecting Lake Tahoe clarity). 
  • Providing high quality habitat for desired aquatic species, including potential future reintroduction of native species, like Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

The two diagrams below provide a visual illustration of the desired outcome from riverine restoration efforts in meadow systems.


degraded meadow and channel


Riverine restoration in meadow systems, replaces unstable, incised streams with poor habitat (above) with resilient stream channels that provide high quality habitat, and restored natural water storage and treatment capacity (below).


healthy meadow and channel


Healthy riverine systems exist in a complex state of dynamic equilibrium that is uniquely adapted to the environmental factors and constraints within that system. A system in dynamic equilibrium can be defined as one that maintains functional stability while adapting to constant change from outside sources.


2016 Restoration Program Activity

Upper Truckee River Reach 5 Restoration: Completion of third and final year of project construction. See project Fact Sheet in Highlights links for more information on the project including the status of current mussel relocation efforts. 

Angora Creek Restoration: Completion of final project implementation actions consisting of revegetation through sod plugs and willow plantings at the decommissioned Seneca Pond site.  Revegetation is planned to be completed in June of 2016.  See project Fact Sheet in Highlights links for more information on the project.

Burke Creek Hwy 50 Crossing Realignment and Channel Restoration: Partner project with NDOT and NTCD. Completion of NEPA environmental analysis. For more information, visit

Taylor/Tallac Wetland Restoration Project: Completion of NEPA environmental analysis. For more information, visit