US Army Corps of Engineers
Sacramento District

Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project

The Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project is conducting a General Reevaluation Report to address flood risk management and recreation measures along the Truckee River within the Truckee Meadows.

In 1988, a project was authorized to reduce the flood risk for the region, but was later suspended after changes in real estate costs made the project economically infeasible. Since the 1990’s, there has been strong local interest in reestablishing a “living river” corridor to convey flood flows, reestablish native habitat and restore fish passage along the Truckee River.  Despite several attempts to identify a comprehensive solution for flooding, ecosystem restoration and recreation, the Corps' study was re-scoped in 2012 to focus plan formulation on flood risk management and basic recreation features.

The need for the project is evidenced by the significant flooding experienced within the project area, which covers approximately 60 miles of the Truckee River beginning upstream of Reno and passing through the city of Sparks and the Truckee Meadows before ending at Pyramid Lake.

Flood History

The Reno-Sparks-Truckee Meadows area has a long history of floods, with documentation showing significant flood events dating back to December 1861, including 10 recorded events since 1900.

In January 1997, a major flood event exceeded all previous records and caused approximately $450 million of damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We’re currently wrapping up our feasibility study, and are currently in the public review period for our draft document, with a final released to the public in late fall. We currently only have enough funding to complete the tasks required to meet this goal. Federal funding is extremely limited right now, and we are making the most efficient use of every dollar we have to complete the study at this time.
The proposed project would implement flood risk management features to reduce flood damage in the Truckee Meadows reach along the Truckee River such as the construction of 9,650 linear feet of floodwalls, 31,000 linear feet of levee, including a levee maintenance/ recreational trail road, 1.7 miles of new floodplain terraces, 3,100 feet of box culverts seepage remediation, bank protection; avoid or minimize adverse impacts on existing habitats and sensitive species, and would add 60 acres of native plantings; and increase recreational opportunities along the Truckee River between Highway 395 and Vista, including canoe/kayak launch points, picnic areas, fishing access, new recreation trail and a community park.  While our plan does not check all the boxes the local community was looking for, we believe our plan is a huge step forward in reducing flood risk for the region.
Our plan is designed to successfully pass a one-in-50 annual chance event with a high degree of confidence and we believe it is a huge step forward in reducing flood risk for the region. With that said, our local partners are welcome to build above and beyond this plan at local expense if they so desire. Generally speaking, to remove the National Flood Insurance Program requirements, levees and floodwalls would need to be raised an additional one to two feet. While that measurement is not universal, and many sections within the project area should be able to withstand a one-in-100 event without it, that would create a project that meets Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements.  
Currently, we only have enough funding to complete the tasks necessary for finalizing our current plan, but if we receive direction and funding to review their plan, we can get a better idea of what it entails, how it differs from what we’ve studied previously and see if it meets Corps standards and regulations. While we have not seen their plan, we’re committed to working with our local partner to achieve the same goal--reducing the flood risk for the Truckee Basin. What we can say for sure is that although our plan does not fully meet the goals of the local community, it is only a representation of the federal interest – so the local community is always welcome and encouraged to go above and beyond the federal plan, but the federal plan does present a way to possibly take a big step toward achieving the goal of lowering the flood risk for the region.
We can’t really answer that because we haven’t seen their plan. We are committed to working with our local partner to achieve the same goal--reducing the flood risk for the Truckee Basin, but currently, we only have enough funding to complete the tasks necessary for finalizing our current plan. If we receive direction and funding to review their plan, we can get a better idea of what it entails and see if it meets Corps standards and regulations. Although our plan does not fully meet the goals of the local community, it is only a representation of the federal interest – so the local community is always welcome and encouraged to go above and beyond the federal plan. But the federal plan does present a way to possibly take a big step toward achieving the goal of lowering the flood risk for the region.
The Corps’ is working hard to complete our study and move forward with our plan, and that will not be affected by the TRFMA plan because we don’t have any direction or funding to even see their plan. With that said, the Corps has known from the start that our plan could see some refinements during the preconstruction, engineering and design phase, which comes next. So, in the end, the Corps plan could more closely resemble the TRFMA plan as a result.
We have been working diligently with our local partners to find a flood risk reduction solution for the Reno-Spark Metropolitan area for many years. While we’ve made some mistakes along the way, we’ve worked hard with our partners to find a plan that will reduce the flood risk for the region, and we believe our current one-in-50 annual chance event plan is the first step towards achieving that.
Public safety is our number one priority. We are moving as fast as we can within the fiscal and policy boundaries set for us by Congress. There is a process that we are required to follow, and it’s a process designed to ensure that we get it right, and at the same time, we must balance the many competing interests, like the environment and development, always keeping public safety as our first priority.
Federal interest establishes the level of federal funding for a plan supported by Corps requirements and policy. It’s important because if no federal interest is established, then no federal funding or resources can be applied to local flood risk management projects. We've put the Corps' best and brightest on this study, and worked tirelessly to find the absolute best project we can build that has federal interest to help reduce the flood risk for the region.

Contact Information

For more information on the
Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project,
please contact us at the following

Phone:
916-557-5100

E-mail:
spk-pao@usace.army.mil

Mailing Address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Truckee Meadows Project
1325 J Street, Room 1513
Sacramento, CA 95814