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USGS NV Surface Water Data

Follow the link below for the NWIS NV surface water web page.

For questions, please contact Michael Rosen, USGS.

Real-Time Information: USGS stream flow and well water gages through Truckee River system

From the KRNV website: describing our watershed. Click on website for gaging sites & real-time data.
Truckee Meadows is a bowl-shaped valley, approximately 10 miles wide and 16 miles long, containing the cities of Reno and Sparks with a combined urban population of approximately 280,000 persons. The Truckee Meadows also includes Pleasant Valley and Washoe Valley to the south, the latter valley containing Washoe Lake and Little Washoe Lake. Both these valleys are drained by Steamboat Creek, which then runs along the eastern portion of the Truckee Meadows and empties into the Truckee River near Vista and the beginning of the lower Truckee River canyon. Along the way, Steamboat Creek picks up the return flows of numerous irrigation ditches to the south of the Truckee River, the most important being Steamboat Ditch, Last Chance Ditch, and Lake Ditch, as well as the Boynton Slough. The Boynton Slough is the recipient of some of these other ditches' return-flow waters as well. Steamboat Creek also receives the treated effluent from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (formerly the Reno-Sparks joint sewage treatment plant).
The eastern part of the Truckee Meadows was a vast marshy wetland prior to development of the area, and remnants of low-lying areas are still farmed today. Loss of this wetland area has exacerbated flooding in the Sparks industrial area.The Truckee Meadows urban area is the largest user of municipal and industrial water from the Truckee River. While municipal and industrial water use (withdrawals) in the Truckee Meadows total approximately 65,000 acre-feet per year, nearly three times this amount (172,383 acre-feet per year, 1973-1994) is diverted out of the lower Truckee River Basin at Derby Dam and into the Truckee Canal for agricultural use in the Newlands Project in the lower Carson River Basin.

Watershed Monitoring Locations: all agencies

PDF of monitoring map created by combining all known sampling locations by agencies between Tahoe City and Pyramid Lake.

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.

USGS Nevada Water Science Center

The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) mission is to provide reliable scientific information about the Nation’s natural resources. An integral part of that mission is to provide consistent, long-term water-resources data to customers, cooperators, and the public. To accomplish our mission, we operate a widespread surface- and ground-water data collection network as well as research a wide range of scientific issues throughout Nevada.

CWES: Center for Watersheds and Environmental Sustainability

The Center for Watersheds and Environmental Sustainability (CWES) was created in 1999 as part of DRI's approach to interdisciplinary research. As aquatic environments and watersheds become increasingly stressed from impacts including global climate change, their management for long-term sustainability will be fundamental to overall ecosystem health.

The mission of CWES is to facilitate development of interdisciplinary research teams that address a variety of science issues important to policy decisions at the watershed scale. Information gained from these research programs will be disseminated to land managers and policy and regulatory decision makers to provide scientific guidance for appropriate policy development.

Water Quality Assessment and Modeling of the California Portion of the Truckee River Basin (2001)

Written By 
David McGraw, Alan McKay, Guohong Duan, Thomas Bullard, Tim Minor, Jason Kuchnicki 

Prepared By
Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, University and Community College System of Nevada, Las Vegas

Prepared For
Town of Truckee Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board JULY 2001

Influence of Riparian Vegetation on Local Climate and River Temperature

This project is managed by
Gayle Dana, Jim Brock, and John Stanley

Temperature is of fundamental importance to the function of aquatic ecosystems and the distribution and abundance of species. Water temperature is critical to maintenance of self-sustaining fisheries with considerable resources being applied towards managing flow, channel, and riparian conditions in order to promote optimal thermal regimes. Numerical models that simulate river temperature have come into common use by managers concerned with water quality (pollutant loading) as well as biological communities.

These models typically require meteorologic data (e.g., air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation). Such data typically are obtained from regional weather stations and applied to conditions at a point in the basin. Some models, such as SNTEMP (Bartholow 1995) make adjustments for elevation but generally it is assumed that the climate data from the weather station (commonly located a t airports) adequately reflect conditions that influence river temperature.

Meteorological data (air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, solar radiation) were collected in two areas within in the Truckee River Basin, Nevada. Stations within Reno Urban area include the Reno Airport (Reno), which is presently used in the modeling efforts described earlier, and the Desert Research Institute (DRI). At the Lower Truckee River area, data were collected in 4 different habitat types near the river: open water (OW), shaded riparian (SRA), gallery forest (GF), and open field (OF). Two stations were set up in each habitat type. Data were collected from September 27 to October 23, 2001.

Truckee River Sedimentation Study (1993)

Written By
Brad R. Hall, William A. Thomas
Hydraulics Laboratory, US Army Corps of Engineers
Waterways Experiment Station

Technical Report HL-93-13
September 1993

The U.S. Army Engineer Sacramento District (CESPK) is formulating a local flood protection project along the Truckee River at Reno, Nevada. The District is completing a Sediment Engineering Investigation (SEI) in conjunction with the project design to assess existing and project condition sedimentation processes of the Truckee River. This report is part of the SEI and provides an assessment of the existing sedimentation conditions of the study reach. A sediment budget and associated channel changes for both average annual and design flood conditions are developed in this report.

The Truckee River study reach is located near Reno, Nevada and extends from the Vista gage at approximately River Mile (RM) 43.9 to just upstream of the Booth Street bridge at RM 53.0. A map of the study area is shown on Figure 1. A number of inflow points occur along the study reach including urban inflows, irrigation diversion wasteways, and tributary drainages. Two major tributaries provide additional discharge; Steamboat Creek at RM 45.5 and the North Fork Truckee drain at RM 44.8. The Truckee River watershed upstream of the study reach includes the Lake Tahoe watershed and portions of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and Nevada. The Truckee River watershed area at the upstream end of the study reach is approximately 1,067 square miles. The majority of the Truckee River runoff originates in the Sierra Nevada mountains and flows through the study reach. Downstream of the study reach, the Truckee River flows east-northeast until it empties into Pyramid Lake, 43 miles downstream of the Vista gage. Pyramid Lake is a terminal lake for the river basin which has no outlet to the ocean.

The Truckee River is a perennial stream characterized by pool and riffle channel morphology. Several bridge crossings and water diversion structures are found in the study reach. Man made channel modifications, especially within the upper 3 miles of the study reach, have limited the amount of channel migration. Bed material size decreases through the reach, and the channel bed is armored at base flow discharge. The flood plain and back water storage areas have been encroached upon by areas of urban construction and earth fill in recent years.

Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotopes on the Truckee River: Results of March 2004 Sampling

Prepared By
Laurel Saito, Ph.D., P.E., Christa Fay, and Kristin Kvasnicka
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada Reno
1000 Valley Road
Reno, NV 89512-0013

Prepared For
Karen Vargas, Environmental Specialist
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
July 27, 2004

Dr. Laurel Saito and her students at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) have been collaborating with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT), the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to investigate the use of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to understand anthropogenic impacts on the aquatic ecosystem in the Truckee River. Previous work included stable isotope sampling and analysis of the Truckee River aquatic food web (i.e., fish and macroinvertebrates, and periphyton) in the summers of 2002 and 2003 during relatively low flows, and in the spring of 2003 during higher flows. The scope of the current study involved collecting another set of aquatic food web samples in March 2004 on the Truckee River for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. This report presents the methods and results of this sampling.

The Truckee River is a vital resource to Nevadans in the northwest region of the state. It provides public water supplies to the cities of Reno and Sparks, and while little irrigated agriculture occurs directly adjacent to the river, about one-third of its flow is diverted to the Lahontan Valley for irrigation purposes. The river terminates into Pyramid Lake, which has experienced severe declines in water level because of the heavy water diversions along its length. In addition, there are numerous resort and recreational activities throughout the basin, and the river and Pyramid Lake provide valuable water and habitat for endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout and cui ui species. In 1998, the USGS’s Nevada Basin and Range (NVBR) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program reported that while stream habitat at all sites (based on degradation indices related to riparian vegetation, stream modification, bank stability, and bank erosion) on the Truckee River system was better than the national median, fish communities in the lower reaches of the Truckee River were more degraded than the national median (Bevans et al. 1998). Furthermore, nutrients in the river and trace elements in its sediments increased 3 to 10 times downstream of the discharge from sewage treatment plants and the entrance of Steamboat Creek to the river. Thus, it appears that downstream influences on water quality and associated biological activity are detrimentally affecting the food web in the Truckee River.

The current work involves the use of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to gain insight into the aquatic food web. The use of stable isotopes in trophic studies employs the fundamental concept that ‘you are what you eat.’ Stable isotopes incorporate two kinds of information: origin and fractionation. The isotopic signature of an individual will reflect the signature of the sources of the isotopes (i.e., where the isotopes first entered the food web) and the change in the isotopic signature due to isotopic fractionation by consumption and metabolism in the food web (Peterson and Fry 1987). Because isotopes accumulate in body tissues over time, a one-time analysis of stable isotopes provides a time-integrated measure of the diet (Fry and Sherr 1984; Hesslein et al. 1993; Vander Zanden et al. 1998). Stable isotope analysis can even be used in food webs with omnivory because isotope values can be measured in all levels of the food web, including phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic insects (Michener and Schell 1994; Vander Zanden and Rasmussen 1996; France 1997). Carbon and nitrogen ratios are the most commonly used stable isotope ratios in food web studies. Carbon ratios (?13C ) are used because the slight (0.2 – 1.1000) increase of ?13C in animals relative to their diet means that the ?13C signature of the primary producer (first organic food source) is likely to be preserved through several trophic levels (Peterson and Fry 1987; Michener and Schell 1994; Yoshioka et al. 1994; France and Peters 1997). Thus, carbon isotope analysis can be used to identify and distinguish the influence of different primary food sources if the isotopic signatures of those food sources are distinctive enough (Forsberg et al. 1993; Michener and Schell 1994). The nitrogen ratio (?15N ) is often used as an indicator of trophic position of a consumer (Fry 1988; Kling et al. 1992; Yoshioka et al. 1994) because the increase of ?15N with trophic level is much greater than with carbon (~3-4000 per trophic level) (Michener and Schell 1994).

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes have value in potentially detecting anthropogenic influences on aquatic food webs. Human- and animal-derived wastewater should have higher ?15N values because of the volatilization of 15N depleted ammonia which occurs during the hydroloysis of urea, and because humans tend to eat higher in the food chain, which elevates their waste nitrogen signatures (Heaton 1986; Silva et al. 2002; Wayland and Hobson 2001). On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers are typically derived by industrial fixation of atmospheric nitrogen (which has a reference signature of 0000), so waters draining fields using these fertilizers tend to have lower nitrogen signatures (Heaton 1986; Silva et al. 2002). Distinctive carbon signatures may be detected when aquatic-terrestrial interactions are altered (e.g. due to alteration of the stream channel and/or flooding regime) because terrestrial plants may have significantly different ?13C signatures than their aquatic counterparts. Such approaches have been used to detect the importance of autochthonous versus allochthonous material in streams (Rounick and Winterbourn 1986; Finlay et al. 1999). In addition, shifts in food web dynamics such as shifts in diets or elimination of species may be detectable with stable isotopes; if the food chain shortens, we should see shifts in nitrogen signatures in the top predators, and if a food source is eliminated at the base of the food web, we may see shifts in the carbon signature.

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