PLANNING

The Truckee River Flood Management Project (Flood Project) is designed to provide a variety of public safety, economic, recreational and environmental benefits to the Truckee Meadows region. Its primary goal is to create a more resilient community by reducing flood damages and deaths resulting from a 1997-type flood event (117-year event). Additionally, the Flood Project incorporates certain recreational and ecosystem restoration features within the footprint of the flood protection infrastructure.

To learn more about each element of the project open the tabs below.

Project Goals

The Truckee River Flood Management Project (Flood Project) is designed to provide a variety of public safety, economic, recreational and environmental benefits to the Truckee Meadows region. Its primary goal is to create a more resilient community by reducing flood damages and deaths resulting from a 1997-type flood event (117-year event). Additionally, the Flood Project incorporates certain recreational and ecosystem restoration features within the footprint of the flood protection infrastructure.

The Truckee River Flood Management Authority (TRFMA) hopes to achieve these goals by:

  • Building levees and floodwalls to protect businesses and homes
  • Acquiring and protecting flood-prone lands from development
  • Relocating businesses and elevating homes out of the floodplain
  • Replacing bridges to increase river channel capacity
  • Excavating floodplain terraces to improve floodwater storage
  • Restoring ecosystem functions and creating habitat for native species
  • Enhancing recreational access and amenities along the river
Project Elements

The current Flood Project plan (also known as the Local Rate Plan) represents many years of planning and stakeholder coordination. It is based on the “Living River Plan,” originally conceived by the Flood Project Community Coalition. Over a period of six years, the agency now known as TRFMA organized hundreds of meetings with community stakeholders in order to develop and build consensus for a regional flood management plan.

The Living River Plan emphasized the community’s vision of incorporating environmentally-friendly elements into the flood protection infrastructure in order to reconnect the river to its floodplain, restore habitat for native species, and enhance recreational opportunities along the river. The current Flood Project plan retains some of the elements from the original Living River Plan and incorporates results from TRFMA’s updated hydraulic models.

The proposed Flood Project footprint extends approximately 33 miles along the Truckee River, from downtown Reno (near Jones Street) to the town of Wadsworth, Nevada (near Pyramid Lake). Major elements of the Flood Project Plan (Local Rate Plan) are described below (click links to view/download), grouped according to project reach (upstream to downstream). The three project reaches are: Downtown Reno (Jones Street to US Highway 395/I-580); Truckee Meadows (US Highway 395/I-580 to Vista Boulevard); and Lower Truckee River (Vista Boulevard to Wadsworth).

Description of Flood Project Plan Elements (View Table)

Flood Project Plan (“Map Book”), Version 6.0 / 28 MB (Download Plan)

Project Cost / Financing

TRFMA is committed to building a cost-effective flood project to benefit the community. In response to local concerns regarding the overall cost and scope of the Living River Plan (which at one time was estimated to cost $1.6 billion), TRFMA worked with its consultants and numerous stakeholders to revise the plan, significantly reducing the cost while still providing a 100-year level of flood protection for the Truckee Meadows (thereby maintaining compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program).

Through a series of meetings in 2012 and 2013—including an in-depth “value engineering” exercise, the overall cost was reduced to just $446 million. This represents roughly 72% in cost savings to the communities of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

The Flood Project and TRFMA are currently funded by a 1/8-cent infrastructure sales tax authorized by NRS Chapter 377B (Tax for Infrastructure) and imposed by Washoe County in December 1998 under Ordinance 1048 (Washoe County Code 20.914). The initial Infrastructure Tax Plan was adopted by the Washoe County Commission in 1998 for the financing of a regional emergency dispatch facility, a public safety training facility, and the Flood Project.

The TRFMA members (Washoe County, City of Reno, and City of Sparks) have determined that the Flood Project provides significant benefits to the community by:

  • Preventing the loss of life and property
  • Avoiding adverse economic impacts due to the disruption of commerce, transportation, communication and other essential services
  • Safeguarding the public health
  • Improving water quality
  • Providing opportunities to create habitat for native species and enhance recreational access and amenities along the Truckee River

Additional funds are required to construct the Flood Project (total cost of approximately $466 million). Presently, TRMFA is exploring a variety of funding options to raise additional revenues, including (but not limited to):

  • Fees collected from property owners (commercial and residential) who directly benefit from decreased flood risk as a result of Flood Project implementation;
  • Taxes (e.g., sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes) collected in Washoe County to support the Flood Project, which has regional significance
  • Flood impact fees for new development in order to mitigate related impacts on Flood Project facilities
Legislative Efforts

Assembly Bill 375 (AB-375) was introduced during the 79th (2017) Session of the Nevada Legislature  by Assembly members Michael C. Sprinkle, Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Amber Joiner and Skip Daly. The proposed legislation would allow “the imposition of certain taxes in a county to fund flood management projects of a flood management authority based on the recommendations of a flood control project needs committee and voter approval.”

For more information and updates on AB-375, go to News & Updates or visit the Nevada Legislature online.

Investment in Ecosystem Restoration

TRFMA has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and numerous other local, state, and federal agencies and non-profit organizations to restore the lower Truckee River ecosystem (from Vista to Pyramid Lake). To date, the partners have invested more than $28 million to create more than 450 acres of habitat and restore more than 8 miles of the lower Truckee River. An estimated 216 jobs were created as a result of this work (full-time equivalents).

The agency has contributed about $2.1 million in sales tax funds for land acquisition, planning, and construction—less than 8% of the overall cost of restoration project implementation. In addition, TRFMA contributed $4.775 million in grant funds to implement ecosystem restoration projects via Assembly Bill No. 5 (AB-5), passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2007.

This relatively small investment may result in significant returns for TRFMA. The ecosystem restoration work could potentially satisfy a portion of the environmental mitigation required to obtain permits and construct the Flood Project.

Click here to find out more about our Truckee River ecosystem restoration projects.

Federal Support

Over the years, TRFMA has worked diligently with the Corps to implement the Flood Project. During the latest planning effort iteration, the Living River Plan was presented to the Corps as the Locally Preferred Plan (LPP) alternative for flood risk management. Unfortunately, due to recent federal budgetary constraints, the Living River Plan was not recommended by the Corps for Congressional authorization.

However, as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA 2014), Congress authorized and pledged almost $200 million in federal funds to construct the Corps National Economic Development (NED) Plan, which is designed to provide 50-year flood protection for the Truckee Meadows.

With the help of its lobbyists and delegates, TRFMA was able to draft a special piece of legislation to benefit the Truckee Meadows. Section 1036 of WRRDA 2014 directs the Corps to build a Locally Preferred Plan that provides a higher level of flood protection than the authorized NED Plan as long as the LPP meets certain Corps requirements.

Per Section 1036, the Flood Project Plan—which provides cost-effective 100-year flood protection for the Truckee Meadows—can be constructed with federal support, including funds authorized for the NED Plan (federal cost-share of $181,652,000).

TRFMA continues to work with its lobbyists and delegates to secure federal funding appropriations for project construction.

Click the links below or visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers online to view key project documents related to the Truckee Meadows Flood Control Project, Nevada.

Truckee Meadows Record of Decision

Truckee Meadows Final General Reevaluation Report

Truckee Meadows Final Environmental Impact Statement Vol. I

Truckee Meadows Final Environmental Impact Statement Vol. I!

Signed Chiefs Report

Hydraulic Models
Other Local Efforts

TRFMA is involved in the One Truckee River effort to manage, protect and provide stewardship for the Truckee River across jurisdictional boundaries. Visit onetruckeeriver.org for more information on this collaborative endeavor.

TRFMA is a voting member of the Northern Nevada Water Planning Commission (NNWPC), a technical advisory group that develops and periodically updates a Comprehensive Regional Water Management Plan for adoption by the Western Regional Water Commission.

TRFMA is also a key partner in the Nevada Flood Awareness campaign, which is intended to “create flood resilient communities in Nevada that encourage the protection of life, property, water quality, environmental values and the preservation of natural floodplain functions.”