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2017 Kickoff Meeting - Truckee Donner Land Trust 1/19/2017

Lew Webb  | Published on 1/31/2017


January 19, 2017 TTFF Presentation

by John Svahn, Stewardship Director



Those members who attended the 2017 General Meeting/Social on January 19th were treated to a great overview of the work done by the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT).  Their mission is to finance the purchase of land (or apply a conservation easement), and turn that land into a public resource for recreation.  The presentation by Stewardship Director John Svahn was complete with a detailed look into some of the Trust’s recent work. 


Founded in 1990, and presently with a paid staff of five and a volunteer Board of Directors, they have so far opened 33,000 acres to public recreation.  Examples of projects completed include the Truckee River canyon above Floriston, Gray Creek, the Truckee area, Shallenberger Ridge above Donner Lake, Donner Summit canyon, Martis Valley and the Little Truckee headwaters of Webber Lake and Independence Lake.  Here are some details of those projects: 


The Truckee River canyon/Gray Creek/Bronco Creek projects consisted of fourteen different acquisitions, with most going to the state of California.  The result is public access to the Truckee!


The TDLT owns about 1,000 acres in Perazzo Meadows that are open to public use.  Restoration from a history of cattle benefitted the raising of the water table and reversed the encroachment of lodgepole pines in the area.  The upper Little Truckee flows through the Meadows and the restoration has improved habitat for Brook Trout in the ponds that were formed.


The Jackson Meadows conservation easement obtained from Sierra Pacific Industries allows public recreation use of alternating plots totaling about 7,000 acres along Jackson Meadows Road.  


Lake of the Woods is another TDLT project that offers a nice little campground and good Cutthroat fishing.


Independence Lake, about the same size as Donner Lake but 1,000 feet higher, is right up against the Sierra Crest.  It is managed by the TDLT but owned by the Nature Conservancy.  Independence is the last refuge for native lake-bread Lahontan Cutthroat trout.  There is also a representation of Kokanee Salmon, Browns, Brookies, Lahontan Redsides, Whitefish, and Tui-Chubs.  Personal watercraft are prohibited, but boats (with outboard engines) and kayaks are available for angler use for free.  Note:  A volunteer opportunity exists on Fish Research Day.  (Tip 1: weekdays are less crowded. Tip 2:  #6 Olive Wooly Bugger, Tip 3: fish in the upper end of the lake and over the ridge between what was originally 2 lakes.)


Acquired in 2012, Webber Lake will open to public use this year.  After thirty years of private stocking, it will now revert to stocking by the State.  The current population of triploid Rainbows, a few big Browns and some Brookies will now be joined by Lahontan Cutthroat trout.  The regulations will begin as ‘General’, but the TDLT would like to see a change to Trophy Trout regulations. The stocking plan for Cutthroat will include catchables and some larger brood stock.   Personal boats and flotation devices are authorized.  The campground will open approximately forty campsites this year.  The eventual goal is sixty to eighty sites and rentable cabins, as well.  Another goal is to accurately restore the Webber Lake Hotel to its original condition, as built in the early 1860’s.  The foundation work alone will cost just over $1 million dollars.     

The North Fork of Prosser Creek in Carpenter Valley

The latest acquisition is the Carpenter Valley just north of Tahoe Donner in Truckee.  The north fork of Prosser Creek flows through this amazing valley.  It has been in private hands since the late 1800’s and unlike many others, it has not been worked as a cattle ranch or dairy.  The stream has been allowed to remain its natural course for all of those years.  The Trust does have an active capital campaign to raise the funds for this purchase in 2017.


Well, that’s it!  An avid flyfisher, John Svahn is an outstanding steward for our beloved watershed and the Truckee Donner Land Trust is doing a fine job of assuring the public’s access to it.  I hope you got to enjoy in person this panoramic picture of the work being done on our behalf.  Now, it’s time to honor their work by getting out to enjoy these magnificent venues with many fly fishing opportunities.

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