Friday, November 26, 2021

The Truckee River Under Assault – Trash is Just One Insult as it Flows through Reno and Sparks

Audio: an interview with Kim Rios, sustainability coordinator for Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful

The annual Truckee River Cleanup Day set for September 25, 2021 is a 17 year-old beautification tradition. Every year, the nonprofit organization Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) organizes hundreds of volunteers who, in a four-hour period, remove trash, erase graffiti, and stencil a warning on storm drains along a 20-mile stretch of the river, from Verdi to Lockwood. 

Last year, in one day, some 500 volunteers removed over 35 tons of trash and green waste from the Truckee River Watershed. 

KTMB also holds the Great Community Cleanup in April, a 700-volunteer effort that focuses on the cleanup of illegal dump sites in nearby open spaces and the removal of noxious weeds before they bloom and spread. The Great Community Cleanup has removed as much as 60 tons of illegally dumped trash and green waste in a day.

But trash is only one environmental threat to the Truckee. 

Pollution from storm drains flows into the Truckee River bringing chemicals from yards, roads, vehicles and industrial activity – photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally

The Truckee River winds roughly 125 miles from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. The river flows across the California/Nevada border and in a way unites communities along its course, but nearly a half a million people in the Reno Sparks metroplex depend on the river for 80 percent of their water. The collective nonpoint source pollution from that many people and other related factors inflict a seemingly infinite number of environmental insults on the river.

Yesterday I stood on the bank of the Truckee near Idlewild Park and spoke with Kim Rios, sustainability coordinator for Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful about threats to the river’s health and what KTMB is doing to help clean up the watershed.

See music credits below.

The Truckee River Trail is a popular recreation venue in the region, but the trail affords great access to the river, and litter is a problem – photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally

Music Credits as reported to the Public Radio Exchange, in order of appearance:

Song: The Dance #1
Artist: Laraaji
Album: Ambient : Day of Radiance
Label: Editions EG
Date: 1980
Duration: 1:07

Song: Meditation No #2
Artist: Laraaji
Album: Ambient : Day of Radiance
Label: Editions EG
Date: 1980
Duration: 1:07

Song: Formalt
Artist: Cluster
Album: Qua
Label: Nepenthe
Date: 2008
Duration: :40

Song: Weightless, Pt. 3
Artist: Marconi Union
Album: Weightless
Label: All Saints Records
Date: 2011
Duration: 1:49

Song: Inside the sun
Artist: Kalabi
Album: Kalabi
Label: Indie
Date: 2009
Duration: :49