By Joanne S .Marchetta

Column Restoring Watershed Function Critical for Tahoe

A bird’s-eye view of the Upper Truckee River 200 years ago would have appeared much different than today. From the snow-encased headwaters in the mountains west of South Lake Tahoe to the wide, marshy mouth on the Lake Tahoe shore, the wild river found its own path. When flows were high, the river spilled over its banks and the meadows, marshes and streams were submerged. The marshy depths of seasonal ponds, the tall grasses, and the tree tops teemed with wildlife. After the spring melt, waters receded. Meadows of wildflowers unfolded before lush stands of forest. These natural processes filtered pollutants that otherwise would have entered the Lake. The Upper Truckee River is the largest tributary entering Lake Tahoe.