Trout Creek (Lake Tahoe)

Last updated
Trout Creek
Native nameMathocahuw O'tha  (Washo) [1] [2]
Location
Country United States
State California
Region El Dorado County
Physical characteristics
SourceWest side of Armstrong Pass in the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada
  coordinates 38°50′01″N119°54′49″W / 38.83361°N 119.91361°W / 38.83361; -119.91361 [1]
  elevation8,630 ft (2,630 m)
Mouth Lake Tahoe
  location
South Lake Tahoe, California
  coordinates
38°56′28″N119°59′48″W / 38.94111°N 119.99667°W / 38.94111; -119.99667 Coordinates: 38°56′28″N119°59′48″W / 38.94111°N 119.99667°W / 38.94111; -119.99667 [1]
  elevation
6,224 ft (1,897 m) [1]
Basin features
Tributaries 
  leftSaxon Creek
  rightCold Creek, [3] Heavenly Valley Creek [4]

Trout Creek is a northward-flowing stream originating on the west side of Armstrong Pass on the Carson Range in El Dorado County, California, United States.

Contents

History

Trout Creek was an important fall camp for the Washo people who caught Mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni, formerly Coregonus williamsoni (Girard, 1856)) there. The Washo name Mathocahuw O'tha means "river of the whitefish". George and Adeline Fountain built a log cabin near the headwaters in 1860 and the area is referred to as "Fountain Place". [2]

Watershed

Trout Creek originates south of Freel Peak in the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada. It is joined by Saxon Creek in Lake Valley, [2] then meets Cold Creek at Lake Christopher which was created by damming the creek, then after being joined by Heavenly Valley Creek, it enters Truckee Marsh and south Lake Tahoe. [1] The only lake in the Trout Creek watershed is Star Lake. [5] Trout Creek has a drainage area of 106 square kilometers, and the main channel length is approximately 19.5 km long. The Cold Creek sub-basin drains a watershed area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2) and originates at 10,884 feet (3,317 m) at Freel Peak. [6]

Ecology

The Trout Creek Stream Restoration and Wildlife Enhancement Project in South Lake Tahoe was completed in 2001. Over 3000 m of channel were reconstructed with enhanced sinuosity, a raised channel elevation, reduced slope, and an overall increase in channel length. The purpose was to improve stream habitat, raise the water table and to allow for increased hydrologic connectivity between the stream channel and the floodplain. [7] Trout Creek is being studied by the U. S. Forest Service for the effectiveness of the stream restoration effectiveness, particularly total and fine sediment load reductions with a final report due in 2012. [8]

North American beaver (Castor canadensis) inhabit multiple reaches of Trout Creek and Cold Creek. [9] [10] Beaver were re-introduced to the Tahoe Basin by the CDFG and the U. S. Forest Service between 1934 and 1949 in order to prevent stream degradation and to promote wetland restoration. The presence of beaver dams has also been shown to either increase the number of fish, their size, or both, in a study of brook, rainbow and brown trout in Sagehen Creek, which flows into the Little Truckee River at an altitude of 5,800 feet (1,800 m) and is a stream typical of the eastern slope of the northern Sierra Nevada. [11] Not only have aspen and cottonwood survived ongoing beaver colonization but a recent study of ten Tahoe streams, including Trout Creek and Cold Creek, utilizing aerial multispectral videography has shown that deciduous, thick herbaceous, and thin herbaceous vegetation are more highly concentrated near beaver dams, whereas coniferous trees are decreased. [10] Benefits of beaver dams include removal of sediment and excessive pollutants travelling downstream, which improves lake clarity, which was shown to worsen recently when beaver dams were removed in nearby Taylor Creek and Ward Creek. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Lake Tahoe Lake in California and Nevada, United States

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Lying at 6,225 ft (1,897 m), it straddles the state line between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 122,160,280 acre⋅ft (150.7 km3) it trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States. Its depth is 1,645 ft (501 m), making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon.

Truckee River River in Nevada and California, United States

The Truckee River is a river in the U.S. states of California and Nevada. The river flows northeasterly and is 121 miles (195 km) long. The Truckee is the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe and drains part of the high Sierra Nevada, emptying into Pyramid Lake in the Great Basin. Its waters are an important source of irrigation along its valley and adjacent valleys.

Carson River River in Nevada, United States

The Carson River is a northwestern Nevada river that empties into the Carson Sink, an endorheic basin. The main stem of the river is 131 miles (211 km) long although the addition of the East Fork makes the total length 205 miles (330 km), traversing five counties: Alpine County in California and Douglas, Storey, Lyon, and Churchill Counties in Nevada, as well as the Consolidated Municipality of Carson City, Nevada. The river is named for Kit Carson, who guided John C. Frémont's expedition westward up the Carson Valley and across Carson Pass in winter, 1844. The river made the National Priorities List (NPL) on October 30, 1990 as the Carson River Mercury Superfund site (CRMS) due to investigations that showed trace amounts of mercury in the wildlife and watershed sediments.

Ward Creek (Lake Tahoe)

Ward Creek is a 6.1-mile (9.8 km) eastward-flowing stream in Placer County, California, United States. The creek flows into Lake Tahoe 2.7 miles (4.3 km) south of Tahoe City, California, and has undergone extensive restoration to reduce sediment and surface run-off to maintain the purity of Lake Tahoe.

Lahontan cutthroat trout Subspecies of fish

Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest subspecies of cutthroat trout, and the state fish of Nevada. It is one of three subspecies of cutthroat trout that are listed as federally threatened.

Mountain whitefish Species of fish

The mountain whitefish is one of the most widely distributed salmonid fish of western North America. It is found from the Mackenzie River drainage in Northwest Territories, Canada south through western Canada and the northwestern USA in the Pacific, Hudson Bay and upper Missouri River basins to the Truckee River drainage in Nevada and Sevier River drainage in Utah.

The Upper Truckee River is a stream that flows northward from the western slope of Red Lake Peak in Alpine County, California to Lake Tahoe via the Truckee Marsh in South Lake Tahoe, California. The river flows northeasterly and is 23 miles (37 km) long. It is Lake Tahoe's largest tributary.

Beaver in the Sierra Nevada Wildlife indigenous to California mountains

The North American beaver had a historic range that overlapped the Sierra Nevada in California. Before the European colonization of the Americas, beaver were distributed from the arctic tundra to the deserts of northern Mexico. The California Golden beaver subspecies was prevalent in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds, including their tributaries in the Sierra Nevada. Recent evidence indicates that beaver were native to the High Sierra until their extirpation in the nineteenth century.

Martis Creek

Martis Creek is a northward-flowing stream originating on Sawtooth Ridge, west of the peak of Mount Pluto in Placer County, California, United States. After crossing into Nevada County, California, it is tributary to the Truckee River on the eastern side of Truckee.

Meeks Creek

Meeks Creek is a western tributary of Lake Tahoe which has its source on Rubicon Lake, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) northeast of Phipps Peak in Desolation Wilderness, trends northwest through Stony Ridge Lake, Shadow Lake, Crag Lake, and Lake Genevieve 3.5 miles (5.6 km), continues northeast 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to Meeks Bay on Lake Tahoe. At its mouth is the tiny town of Meeks Bay, California, in El Dorado County, California, United States.

Red Clover Creek is a west-northwestward-flowing stream originating on Horton Ridge east of the Sierra Nevada crest in Plumas County, California, United States. It courses 27 miles (43 km) through Dotta Canyon and Red Clover Valley to its confluence with Last Chance Creek in Genesee Valley, just above its confluence with Indian Creek, which flows into the East Branch North Fork Feather River. The Red Clover Valley sits at an elevation of about 5,400 feet (1,600 m) and is located on the east side of the Sierra Nevada crest, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Truckee and 30 miles (48 km) east of Quincy.

Griff Creek

Griff Creek is a southward-flowing stream originating on Martis Peak in Placer County, California, United States. It culminates in north Lake Tahoe at Kings Beach, California.

Trout Creek (Truckee River tributary)

Trout Creek is a small tributary of the Truckee River draining about 5.1 square miles (13 km2) along the eastern crest of the Sierra Nevada. It originates east of Donner Ridge and north of Donner Lake in the Tahoe–Donner Golf Course and flows through the town of Truckee, California, to its confluence with the Truckee River in Nevada County, California, just west of Highway 267.

Brown's Creek is a 9.7-mile-long (15.6 km) stream which originates about 5.5 miles northwest of the city of Stillwater and flows south for about half its length then east to its confluence with the St. Croix River just north of Stillwater in Washington County, Minnesota, United States. It is one of few creeks in the Minneapolis – Saint Paul "Twin Cities" metropolitan area that supports a fishable trout population.

Taylor Creek (Lake Tahoe)

Taylor Creek is a 2.2-mile-long (3.5 km) northward-flowing stream originating in the Fallen Leaf Lake and culminating at Baldwin Beach at Lake Tahoe, about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Camp Richardson in El Dorado County, California.

Blackwood Creek (California)

Blackwood Creek, is a 8-mile-long (13 km) eastward-flowing stream originating on the southwest flank of Ellis Peak in the Sierra Nevada. The creek flows into Lake Tahoe 4.2 miles (6.8 km) south of Tahoe City, California, between the unincorporated communities of Idlewild and Tahoe Pines in Placer County, California, United States.

The Lower Sagehen Creek Hiking Trail follows Sagehen Creek, a tributary of the Truckee River on the east slope of the central Sierra Nevada in the western United States. The stream lies north of Lake Tahoe and the town of Truckee, California, and near the California/Nevada border.

North Canyon Creek is a 6.8-mile-long (10.9 km) southwestward-flowing stream originating on Snow Valley Peak in the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada. Most of the stream is in Carson City, Nevada, United States. It is a tributary stream of Lake Tahoe culminating at Glenbrook in Douglas County on Tahoe's Nevada shore.

Independence Lake (California)

Independence Lake is a natural glacial lake in California, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At an elevation of 6,949 feet (2,118 m) in the upper reaches of the Truckee River basin, it has been less affected by development than most lakes in the area. The Nature Conservancy owns a 2,325 acres (9.41 km2) parcel of land around it, which it manages privately as the Independence Lake Preserve for the purposes of conservation and low-impact recreation.

Environmental impacts of beavers

The beaver is a keystone species, increasing biodiversity in its territory through creation of ponds and wetlands. As wetlands are formed and riparian habitats enlarged, aquatic plants colonize newly available watery habitat. Insect, invertebrate, fish, mammal, and bird diversities are also expanded. Effects of beaver recolonization on native and non-native species in streams where they have been historically absent, particularly dryland streams, is not well-researched.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Trout Creek
  2. 1 2 3 Barbara Lekisch (1988). Tahoe Place Names: the Origin and History of Names in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Lafayette, California: Great West Books. p. 142. ISBN   9780944220016 . Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  3. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cold Creek
  4. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Heavenly Valley Creek
  5. WRIR (Report). Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  6. "Cold Creek Watershed Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration Plan". United States Department of Agriculture. 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  7. Christina Tague, Scott Valentine, Matthew Kotchen (2008). "Effect of geomorphic channel restoration on streamflow and groundwater in a snowmelt-dominated watershed" (PDF). Water Resources Research. 44 (10): 1–10. Bibcode:2008WRR....4410415T. doi: 10.1029/2007wr006418 . Retrieved 2010-11-13.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. Nicole Beck. "Quantification and Characterization of Trout Creek Restoration Effectiveness". U. S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  9. Dan Keenan (December 2008). South Lake Tahoe Monitoring Project (PDF) (Report). Sierra Nevada Alliance. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  10. 1 2 Michael Benson Ayers (October 1997). Aerial Multispectral Videography for Vegetation Mapping and Assessment of Beaver Distribution within Selected Riparian Areas of the Lake Tahoe Basin (Thesis). University of Nevada at Reno. p. 71. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  11. Gard R (1961). "Effects of beaver on trout in Sagehen Creek, California". Journal of Wildlife Management. 25 (3): 221–242. doi:10.2307/3797848. JSTOR   3797848.
  12. Sarah Muskopf (October 2007). The Effect of Beaver (Castor canadensis) Dam Removal on Total Phosphorus Concentration in Taylor Creek and Wetland, South Lake Tahoe, California (Thesis). Humboldt State University, Natural Resources. hdl:2148/264.