Protecting the River

Our Urban Watershed

Snowfall that begins high in the mountains of the Lake Tahoe basin is part of the watershed that sustains the environment we enjoy in the Truckee Meadows. Water also enters our area whenever it snows or rains in the Truckee River watershed.

To help preserve and improve the quality of groundwater, lakes, rivers, springs, and streams within our watershed; multiple agencies have contributed to create the 2020 Integrated Source Water and 319(h) Watershed Protection Plan for Public Water Systems and the Truckee River in the Truckee Meadows.

The following map provides easy access to county-wide information regarding our region’s watershed and source water protection.

Our region’s watershed and source water protection

This map also provides a centralized reference for entities directly involved with watershed and stormwater management in the region. These entities include:

Additionally, the Nevada Department of Transportation, Stormwater Division has active programs to address contamination from stormwater runoff from our roads and neighborhoods. To become more familiar with what stormwater is and how it impacts water quality, visit NDOT's Stormwater Public Education resources.

Community members can also become directly involved in watershed stewardship through local organizations such as:

The Nature Conservancy: Fosters restoration efforts at Independence Lake and the McCarran Ranch Preserves.

One Truckee River: Offers a series of local programs and learning materials about the Truckee River Watershed and an Educator Resource Guide which includes Citizen Science opportunities to help collect data and connect with the science side of stewarding a healthy watershed.

Nevada Department of Transportation, Stormwater Division: Did you know stormwater can send harmful contaminants from our streets, driveways, lawns and gutters into the river? Become more familiar with what stormwater is and how it impacts water quality through NDOT's Stormwater Public Education resources.

Truckee River Fund: Founded by Truckee Meadows Water Authority and managed by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, the Truckee River Fund (TRF) supplies grants to protect water quality, the water shed, and water resources of the Truckee River.

Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation: Assisted through a Truckee River Fund grant, the foundation is establishing the Truckee Meadows Nature Study Area to create an accessible Great Basin wetland habitat in the area formerly known as Rosewood Lakes Golf Course in east Reno.

Our awareness of our local watersheds and how they work is key to developing an understanding of our own impact on regional water resources and what we can do to ensure their health and availability to meet the needs of our community and its surrounding environment.

Keeping our Urban Watershed Clean

The majority of urban watershed pollution comes from nonpoint sources (NPS). Unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources.

NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.

Over time NPS pollution can add up and become a big problem. Many community organizations in the Truckee Meadows offer opportunities to get involved, but there are also things you can do at home to help make a big difference.

In and around the home:

  1. Keep your trash or recycling from blowing out of your bins.
  2. Make sure your sprinklers aren’t watering the sidewalk or street.
  3. Test your soil before applying fertilizer, it might not need feeding.
  4. Make sure you know how to dispose of fertilizers and pesticides properly as they are considered household hazardous waste.
  5. Wash your car at a car wash instead of the driveway, car washes collect and recycle the contaminated water so it doesn’t flow into a storm drain.
  6. Pick up after your pet on walks. Dog feces can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria that should stay out of our water supply.

Learn and volunteer:

  1. Keep it clean: volunteer with the Truckee River clean-up and Stormwater stenciling project.
  2. Become a visionary: See the One Truckee River Plan.
  3. Restore nature: The Nature Conservancy has multiple ongoing projects benefiting the Truckee River Watershed

Applying for a Truckee River Fund Grant

Established in 2005 by Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the Truckee River Fund (TRF) is a fund to protect and enhance the Truckee River and its watershed. This resource is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Request for proposals (RFP) occurs on an annual or semi-annual basis. Projects are reviewed by the TRF Advisory Committee and then undergo a two-step approval: first from the TMWA Board of Directors and then from the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. To be added to the RFP distribution list, call the Community Foundation of Western Nevada at 775.333.5499.

To date, over 200 projects have been approved by the Truckee River Fund. To be eligible for funding, each project must also secure matching funds from a partner organization or agency. Projects must be specific to protecting the Truckee River.

Below: Grant #206 - Truckee Meadows Nature Study Area, Planning Phase (formerly Rosewood Lakes Golf Course)

Participate and Learn

Coming Events

Community gatherings to learn, protect or celebrate water in our region.

Coming Tours

Visit different locations and facilities that are a part of the region's watershed or water management infrastructure.

Ongoing Workshops

Providing interactive and hands-on learning experiences to ‘do-it-yourself’.


Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA)
City of Reno
Washoe County
City of Sparks