Corps’ Truckee Meadows flood project nears final Corps approval

Published Dec. 20, 2013
The Truckee River flows through downtown Reno, Nev.

The Truckee River flows through downtown Reno, Nev.

Flooding in the Reno, Nev., area in January 1997.

Flooding in the Reno, Nev., area in January 1997.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- New Year’s Day, 1997. An above-normal snowpack sat on the Sierra Nevada mountains above Reno, Nev. It should’ve been a day of skiing, jubilance and new resolutions. Instead, a tropical rainstorm slowly moved through the region, setting off three days of record flooding along the Truckee River in Reno and Sparks that caused more than $500 million in reported flood damage.

Helping prevent a repeat of the 1997 flood has been the focus of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project ever since. The District’s recommended plan was approved Dec. 17 by the Corps civil works review board at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Other government agencies and the public will now have one more chance to review the plan before it is submitted for a decision by Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, which is expected to be in April 2014. With his signature, the study report, then called a Chief’s Report, will be ready for approval by the president’s administration and consideration for Congressional authorization and funding.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Corps project manager Glen Reed. “We believe our plan provides a great opportunity for federal involvement in a valuable project for the region, and we are ecstatic to be approaching the finish line.”

The Truckee Meadows project was initially authorized by Congress in 1988, but was deferred during its design phase when increasing real estate costs made it economically unfeasible. The Corps continued to evaluate possible solutions during the intervening years, including a detailed evaluation of a locally-developed plan resulting from a community coalition process, but could not find a recommendable solution.

In 2012 the study was re-scoped to focus exclusively on flood risk management and modest recreation enhancements. The resulting plan recommends building flood risk reduction infrastructure including levees, culverts and floodwalls along the Truckee Meadows reach of the Truckee River, and would add river access points for fishing and boating, as well as picnic areas and trails.

The Truckee River Flood Management Authority is the project’s local partner and supports the Corps plan as part of their comprehensive strategy to reduce flood risk along the Truckee River. The TRFMA plan was approved by local authorities Dec. 13.

Tyler Stalker

Release no. 13-093