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Truckee River Watershed Council Quality Assurance Project Plan

TTSA Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

Benthic Macroinvertebrates Index Development and Physical Habitat Evaluation for Truckee River, Carson River, and Walker River

Prepared for: NDEP
Prepared by: Tetra Tech.

September 2007

Executive Summary
The objective of this project is two-fold; to develop a benthic macroinvertebrate multimetric index using existing data to apply to the main stems of the rivers of west central Nevada (the Truckee River, the Carson River, and the Walker River) and to evaluate physical habitat measurements for the main stem of the Truckee River as a potential assessment tool.

A multimetric benthic macroinvertebrate index was developed for the area of interest that integrated data from three river systems and two agencies (Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe). Data used for the index were collected during low flow periods (late June to early November) to minimize the effects of flow on the calibration of the index. Samples were collected from riffles and were subsampled to 500 organisms, identified to genus level.

Reach Y Restoration Feasibility Assessment 3: Final Draft

Please find attached Figures 16-22.

Reach Y Restoration Feasibility Assessment 2: Final Draft

Attached please find Figures 6-15.

Reach Y Restoration Feasibility Assessment 1: Final Draft

By River Run Consulting, March 2007

This report examines opportunities for restoring geomorphic and ecosystem function of the Truckee River between East McCarran Blvd. and near the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF), herein referred to as Reach Y. The report was prepared for the Cities of Reno and Sparks and TMWRF, who are seeking opportunities to improve water quality and the ecosystem of the Truckee River, especially opportunities for early implementation.

Reach Y is an extraordinarily complex geomorphic environment. There is a distinct transition in fluvial geomorphic processes within the reach. Channel dimensions and hydraulic characteristics are far different in the upper end of the reach than in the lower end. Prior to human disturbance, riparian ecosystems were likely also very different, dominated by shrubs and trees at the upstream end and herbaceous, meadow-forming species at the lower end.

The river has been highly modified by human activities throughout the reach. Straightening, channel enlargement, removal of obstructions and levee construction, undertaken to improve the channel for agriculture and flood control, have resulted in significant incision (lowering of the channel bed through erosion) throughout most of the reach. Channel response to the initial disturbance continues today, with relatively high rates of bank erosion and lateral instability. In the absence of artificial stabilization, the channel will continue to erode, with the eventual formation of a new floodplain at a lower elevation.

Due to the inherent geomorphic complexity within Reach Y, the river has responded to human disturbance in different ways in different locations. Incision has been more rapid in some areas than in others. Streambank erosion and lateral stability subsequent to incision have also occurred in different ways and at different rates throughout the reach.

To be effective, restoration measures implemented for this reach should recognize its inherent geomorphic and ecosystem complexity, which have important implications both for the potential characteristics of the restored system as well as its stability. Restoration measures should also be designed with an understanding of the effects of human disturbance, and should be capable of accommodating continuing channel adjustment to past human disturbance.

Restoration of the floodplain, through benching or similar techniques, represents the best opportunity to restore functional riparian ecosystems. However, this alternative will magnify many of the factors that tend to enforce instability and dynamics:
-Construction of a floodplain or benching will reduce the ability of the channel to transport coarse sediment, thus promoting coarse sediment deposition in the reach and subsequent lateral instability;
-Excavation of the existing streambanks will make likely make them more erosive in the short-term, until they are stabilized by vegetation;
-Constructed floodplains or benches will also be susceptible to erosion until stabilized by vegetation.

Assurance of stability for this alternative will therefore require a relatively high degree of engineering, and thus high cost. Throughout much of the reach, establishing functional native vegetation communities would also require intensive and expensive revegetation and erosion control techniquies, as well as a long-term commitment to maintenance of planted materials.
Because this reach has a high potential for substantial erosion, it is extremely sensitive to modifications of the channel upstream for flood control or restoration. The success of any restoration treatment in Reach Y will require careful integration with upstream restoration and flood control strategies, with consideration of potential changes in sediment transport and flood magnitude. We recommend that restoration in most of Reach Y be implemented in conjunction with upstream channel improvements.

The most feasible project for short-term implementation is bank stabilization in the vicinity of TMWRF, which can be implemented prior to other flood or restoration alternatives. Due to flood control constraints, bank stabilization is the sole feasible riparian restoration alternative in this location, and could be designed to integrate effectively with any restoration alternative upstream. Riparian habitat, aquatic habitat, and water quality improvements provided by bank stabilization would be limited. However, our analysis of geomorphic evolution in this area suggests that bank erosion is likely to continue in this area, even though erosion rates may be relatively slow. Bank stabilization may be required to protect infrastructure.

For entire document, please find initial figures as attachments below, and others listed in Documents and Reports or Resources Sections as subsequent Reach Y volumes (for the 21 figures shown as pdfs).

Nevada State Question 1 Truckee River Funding Project Book

EPA-Funded DRI proposal for a study on "Regional Clean Water Activities" based in Truckee, Carson, Humboldt Rivers

This project is in progress through DRI, with Alan McKay as one of the PIs. This project was described as an exploration of watershed-specific nuances in algal growth/uptake that may differ significantly from previously held scientific beliefs based on growth in other river systems. Better science will make for more accurate modeling on these systems. -LG

From the problem statement:
"State and local agencies in Nevada are currently under intense pressure to meet conditions of the Clean Water Act (CWA); particularly those related to nonpoint source pollution (Section 319[h]), impaired waters (Section 303[d]) and associated total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). Among the challenges facing the state are sparse data, inadequate scientific basis for existing water quality standards, a general lack of decision-making tools such as models and spatial analysis software, and insufficient financial resources to support in-house technical staff. Discussions with state and local stakeholders (e.g., Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, or NDEP; Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe; and Washoe County) along with staff from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region IX have helped identify and prioritize a suite of water quality-related activities that address some of the aforementioned water quality challenges. The geographic focus of these activities includes three western Nevada river basins (the Truckee, Carson, and Humboldt rivers). The scientific focus will involve a suite of laboratory and field-scale activities designed to better understand the effects of natural and human factors on ecological function in western river basins. A unifying element for data derived from this research will be application to one or more numerical water quality models, which will lead to improved capability to simulate future conditions under varying management scenarios. "

Find entire proposal document attached.

EPA benthic macroinvertebrate sampling method for physical habitat assessment

US EPA Method for determining physical habitat conditions using method for assessments. This method is being used by PLPT in tandem with benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, to further describe the watershed and potential causes for impaired results in bmi populations.

Truckee River Biomass Monitoring Program...July 2001 to Aug 2002

Truckee River Biomass Monitoring Program: Data Encompassing Field Studies of July 2001 to August 2002
Jeramie Memmott, Megan Robinson, Annika Mosier, Christian H. Fritsen
Division of Earth and Ecosystem Science, Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno NV 89512. phone: (775) 673-7487

The Truckee River Biomass Monitoring (TRBM) program has collected data regarding algal biomass in the lower Truckee River [expressed as plant pigments (chlorophyll a), carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous] that can be used for independent analysis of ecosystem health and nutrient budgets. Furthermore, the biomass sampling program has been implemented in such a manner that the results will be used to validate water quality models and, hence, to make model formulations more scientifically defensible as management tools.

Data reported within this draft were generated as part of the second round of monthly biomass sampling that began in November 2001 and was completed as of August 2002.

The Study
In monitoring plant and algal biomass in the lower Truckee River we conducted the following field activities: Samples were collected four times at eleven sites (HERS, FLEI, PATA, EMCC, LOCK, PATR, TRAC, PAIN, JOHN, DEAD, LNIX) on the Truckee River (Figure 2) and an additional six times at eight of the eleven sites (HERS, FLEI, PATA, LOCK, PATR, TRAC, JOHN, LNIX). Sampling at all eleven sites was conducted on a quarterly basis to be consistent with the previous monitoring program (July 2000 to July 2001), which also included more spatially intensive sampling for increased spatial information on a quarterly basis. Eight of the eleven sites were sampled on a monthly basis. During the majority of sampling, temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen were recorded in real-time using YSI Incorporated sondes provided by Washoe County. River velocity measurements were made at points where samples were collected to constrain the physical flow regime of the plant communities beyond levels previously attained.

Samples for water quality analysis were collected at each sampling site (consistent with monthly or quarterly sampling) using a depth-integrating sampler and were delivered to Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) for analysis. Vertical profiles of solar irradiance in the water column were conducted to constrain previously estimated light penetration values used for modeling primary productivity and in community metabolism studies.

At each site during each round of sampling, an average of 14 periphyton samples were collected for ash free dry weight (AFDW) and chlorophyll a. A minimum of three samples from each site were collected for determining periphyton functional groups (e.g. blue green algae, filamentous green algae, green algae, and diatoms) that are consistent with groupings currently used in water quality models (e.g. DSSAMt). On average, five subsamples of periphyton from each site were analyzed for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous contents.

Please find report in pdf attached.

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