Nature Conservancy: McCarran Ranch Preserve Tour


Click here to download a map of Preserve: Truckee River Trails Map.

Before we presented on building a website for environmental departments at the Region 9 EPA Conference, we went on a field trip to the McCarran Ranch Preserve. The McCarran Ranch Preserve is one of the Nature Conservancy’s restoration projects along the Truckee River. In fact, it was their first watershed restoration endeavor along the lower Truckee River.

The work at the McCarran Ranch Preserve has been so successful that it’s become somewhat of a poster child and working model for how to restore the Truckee. The McCarran Ranche Preserve has endured tremendous damage through the decades, including attempts to straighten the river’s path in a 1960’s flood control project. The channel incisions caused the groundwater to drastically drop, cutting off water sources for the entire riparian habitat. They witnessed a 90% loss of the riparian forest and almost 70% of the native birds. The Nature Conservancy brought us through the preserve and showed the steps they’ve taken to try and rehabilitate the watershed ecosystem. The projects they’ve conducted include: reinstating meandering channels and allowing the river to flow in it’s natural, along with restoring native plants and creating habitat for fish.