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Our Truckee, Our Future: What We Learned from Our Experts

We all know our region is changing, and when it comes to the high Quality of Life residents can expect to experience, the secret is getting out. Reno was recently named one of the “15 Happiest Places to Live in the US” by Outside Magazine, highlighting the area’s natural beauty and abundant access to the great outdoors. With population growth, a steadily more diverse economy, and ongoing climate change, we’re interested in learning how local entities balance community needs while enacting new and innovative ways to preserve and protect our most precious natural resource, The Truckee River watershed.

What makes the Truckee River so unique?

  1. The Truckee River is terminal, meaning it flows east (instead of to the Ocean, which most bodies of water do), starting in Lake Tahoe and ending at Pyramid Lake, with a pronounced presence flowing through the middle of Downtown Reno.

  2. Our community gets 80-85% of our drinking water from the Truckee River. It is truly a critical resource for our region, but due to its location, the river is managed across two states (California and Nevada), presenting unique regulatory challenges. We also have a very diverse watershed ranging from wilderness areas to densely urbanized centers, which creates a large variety of impacts on our waterways.

  3. With so much recreation happening along the Truckee River, there is an even stronger human impact on our watershed. Hiking, backpacking, and recreating in our vast outdoor spaces are part of what makes the Truckee Meadows such a desirable place to live and visit, but the dwindling [state] budgets our local organizations rely on to support recreation create a significant challenge in managing local resources.

  4. All Northern Nevada residents live in the Truckee River watershed, meaning our individual actions *matter* because they can significantly impact the health and quality of our water supply. Nonpoint source pollution (or polluted runoff) is one of the biggest issues impacting water quality in our area. The level of urbanization around our local water sources makes it important for local entities and organizations to team up, educate our community, and help keep our watershed healthy and resilient.

We are ALL collectively responsible for our region’s water health. What can residents do today to help keep our watershed clean and healthy, now and in the future?

  • Recreate responsibly! Staying on designated trails, parking in legal areas, and cleaning up after ourselves (and our pets!) in nature helps keep our watershed clean by preventing potential forest fires and avoiding trash pollution in our waterways.

  • Make your own yard a water sponge to prevent unnecessary run-off and prevent water waste.

  • Use a car wash instead of washing your car at home, and recycle motor oil instead of dumping it.

  • Advocate! Don’t be afraid to share solutions, ideas, and ways to protect the river with elected officials and local organizations. Our region needs more people to be passionate about these issues and engage in local government to advocate for a stronger and healthier Truckee River.

“Home means Nevada. We want to treat our home with respect and love.” – Brenda Hunt, Carson Water Subconservancy District

Brenda said it best! The individual actions noted above help to protect our beloved watershed and keep our community’s water supply clean, which is vital to maintaining a high Quality of Life in the Truckee Meadows region.

To learn more about this topic, catch the replay of this session here (pro tip: advance to 5:45 in the video to jump right into questions and conversation with the experts).

Thank you to our panelists and sponsors!

We’d like to thank our panel of local experts for sharing their time and expertise with us at this final session of our 2023 Community Conversation Speaker Series. If you have questions for any of the speakers, please contact them via email:

This session was hosted by TMT Executive Director Kylie Rowe and moderated by TMT Deputy Director Sarah Gobbs-Hill.

If you’re not already subscribed to TMT’s e-news, Join the Movement here!

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