Fish and Wildlife Service urges removal of Martis Dam on Truckee River

Potential removal of Martis Creek Dam, located near Lake Tahoe on a tributary to the Truckee River, has drawn the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

While the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) is currently evaluating options for what to do about Martis Creek Dam, considered one of the 10 most dangerous dams in the county, the USFWS urged for dam removal so that Martis Creek can flow freely and provide habitat for threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout (read more in this article).

Foundation seepage and the presence of a 200-foot wide active fault line running next to the dam prompted the USACE to designate Martis Creek Dam as Dam Safety Action Class I, requiring “urgent and compelling” action.

This creates concern over additional flood impacts to Reno, Nevada, as Martis Creek Reservoir is part of a flood control system intended to protect the city.

American Rivers was asked by local partner Sierra Watch to evaluate Martis Creek’s contribution to Truckee River flooding through Reno and estimate the potential flood risk impacts of dam-removal.

Click here to learn more [PDF] about the Truckee River watershed, Martis Creek Dam, and flooding in Reno!

Public comments regarding Martis Dam are accepted through the USACE website, and these comments will be incorporated into Draft Dam Safety Modification Report set for release in November 2011.