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Concerns Addressed Over Truckee River Rafting Trash

With the commercial rafting operations on the Truckee River over for the year, Placer County is working with partners to provide cleanup of the trash and debris along the river.

Although the commercial companies closed, there is at least another month left in the rafting season. Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, working with the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the U.S. Forest Service, the Truckee River Watershed Council and Placer County staff, created and financed a management plan to cover river cleanup for the remainder of the rafting season.

"While the rafting companies collect a user fee and are required by permit to cleanup during their commercial rafting season, after they shut down, the responsibility for ensuring the cleanup has historically fallen to no one," said Supervisor Montgomery, who's Fifth District encompasses Placer County's portion of Lake Tahoe and a large stretch of the Truckee River. The issue of how best to manage the river corridor is a complicated one, Supervisor Montgomery explained, because the County does not have jurisdictional responsibility for the river itself, nor does the county collect fees from the non-commercial rafters. "Placer County has been very concerned about this issue since it was brought to our attention," said Montgomery.

The Truckee River runs through National Forest land as well as private land alongside Highway 89. The Truckee River Bike Path is maintained by the Tahoe City Public Utility District, which provides park and recreation services in the region. About half of the river rafters are non-commercial users who pay no fee to use the river and access the river from many locations, including the Forest Service facility called "64 Acres" near the county's Tahoe Transit Center in Tahoe City.

Supervisor Montgomery, working with Deputy Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano of the Tahoe National Forest, Truckee District Ranger Joanne Roubique, LTBMU Recreational Lands Staff Officer Gina Thompson and the Truckee River Watershed Council's Lisa Wallace, identified county and federal funds to pay for trash pickup, dumpsters and portable restroom facilities through the end of the summer rafting season.

"The Forest Service is contributing $1,000 to the effort, as well as time and labor from the 'Generation Green' team that is underwritten by the county's portion of federal Rural Schools Funding dollars.  The County's own $2500 contribution-funds collected from overnight visitors--is also helping pay for cleanup," said Montgomery. "We have entered into an agreement to pay the Tahoe City Public Utility District to take over the river portion of the cleanup in addition to their existing bike path operations.  It's a win-win for us all, that proves how well governments and private partners can work together to meet a community need."

Later this fall, Supervisor Montgomery will be convening a multi-jurisdictional meeting to plan for long-term management of the rafting portion of the Truckee River, including an analysis of existing and potential future operational methods.

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