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Currently Active Locations

Agency Number of Sites Primary Data Collected
DRI 9 Water quality
NDEP 10 (tributaries) Water quality
NDOW 10 Fish
PLPT 15 Water quality,
riverine habitat
TMWA 2 Water quality
TMWRF 14 Water quality,
TMWC 12 (tributaries) Water quality, flow
TNC Varies Annual Bird Survey
TOT 3 Water quality
TTSA 4 Water quality
UNR Upt to 14 (Varies) Water quality/bacteria
USFWS 25 Fish
USGS 14 Flow

The focus of this CMP is to document the monitoring currently conducted on the Truckee River and its tributaries between Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake. The emphasis of this document is on in-stream monitoring. As of September 2010, there are ten (10) organizations actively collecting data. Table 3-1 lists these organizations, the general type of data collected and number of collection sites. At this time, there are over 80 active data collection sites. In the event collection sites are added to or removed from this list, the “revision” sheet included herein will be updated accordingly. These monitoring sites have also been distinguished on maps that were created by Washoe County Department of Water Resources staff. The current monitoring and historical monitoring site maps are shown on Figure 4-1, Figure 4-2, Figure 4-3, and Figure 4-4.

Data is collected by the different organizations for various reasons including scientific research, federal mandates, or permit requirements. Regulatory permits that require monitoring on the Truckee River include those of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). There are individual NPDES permits for direct discharges to the watershed, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits for municipal stormwater discharges, and a general construction stormwater permit issued for Nevada construction projects that could impact surface water quality. Industrial stormwater permits are issued if facilities will discharge to a waterbody. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues removal/fill (Clean Water Act [CWA] Section 404) permits which, along with other in-water work permits, may require CWA Section 401 water quality certification. In addition, there are various other State and local temporary construction site permits.

The NPDES program is a nationally authorized permit program designed to regulate point source pollution discharges to waterbodies. In Nevada, the NDEP has primacy over the permit program. NDEP issued Permit No. NVS000001 to the Cities of Reno and Sparks and Washoe County on May 26, 2010.  These jurisdictions own and operate the MS4s in the Truckee Meadows, as the Truckee Meadows Stormwater Committee (TMSC). This same group has agreed to cooperate on watershed protection, and has also taken the name “Truckee Meadows Watershed Committee” (TMWC).  The 5-year NPDES permit authorizes these permittees to discharge municipal storm water runoff into the receiving waters of the Truckee River and various tributaries.  The permit includes storm water discharge monitoring and reporting requirements, which is described in the Sample Analysis Plan (October 1, 2010). The Sample Analysis Plan is subject to annual updates, and is fulfilled by cooperation of the three entities.

The Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) is regulated by a separate NPDES Permit (NEV0020150) to discharge treated effluent to Steamboat Creek, a tributary to the Truckee River. This Permit (NV0020150) expired on 10/14/2008, but has been administratively extended. New permit requirements may be included, but currently TMWRF monitors water quality at East McCarran Bridge, North Truckee Drain, upstream and downstream of Steamboat Creek, in the Truckee River, Lockwood, Tracy/Clark, Derby Dam, Painted Rock, Wadsworth, and Nixon. TMWRF also conducts quarterly biological monitoring (macroinvertebrate census on the Truckee River at Dead Ox, East McCarran Bridge, Lockwood, and Clark (see monitoring summary in Appendix A).

Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is required to establish water quality standards based upon beneficial uses of each waterway. NDEP maintains a list of impaired water bodies known as the NV 303(d) list, which identifies impaired water bodies in the state of Nevada. These are waters that do not meet water quality standards, and thus are impaired relative to the designated issues. The law requires that NDEP develop a priority ranking for each waterbody, and for high priority waters, develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for these waters. A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant or pollution that a water body can receive and still safely meet water quality standards. 

In 1988, NDEP identified the Truckee River as water quality impaired and listed it on the 303(d) list.  The Truckee River was identified as having many beneficial uses: Municipal or domestic supply, cold water fishery, propagation of wildlife, irrigation, watering of livestock, and contact and noncontact recreation. TMDLs were developed for the Truckee River in 1994 for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and total dissolved solids (TDS). The TMDLs set forth numeric Waste Load Allocations (WLA) and Load Allocations (LA). A TMDL is a sum total of the LA and WLAs, for each of these constituents.

Construction site activity occurring in or near the Truckee River must follow the permitting regulations set forth by the NDEP, USACE, USFWS, NDOW, PLPT (over reservation waters), and other various local and federal agencies depending on the specific area of the River the project is impacting. For more information on permitting in and around the Truckee River, see the Truckee River Restoration and Construction Site Permitting Handbook (Kennedy/Jenks 2008).