Every Thursday night this summer, Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation (TMPF), leads a one-mile walk in a different park. These Discover Your Parks walks are often at parks along the Truckee River corridor, ditches, or other bodies of water. Each week TMPF members discuss the drought, its consequences, and how valuable water really is to our region.
The ditches of Reno and Sparks, which generally open in April and are ideally shut off in October, were shut off in July and August last year. This year the ditches are being shut off even earlier; the Highland Ditch was shut down in May! This resulted in one of the few off-leash dog parks in Washoe County closing for the season, putting extra stress on the remaining four dog parks left in the area.
The drought is obvious in Idlewild Park. Where there were once dozens of Canada geese, Mallard ducks, Double-crested cormorants, and other water birds, there are now very few. The artistic rainbow fish in the first pond are high and dry. Park visitors can walk across the river with ease.
The Truckee River corridor is home to many species of birds, animals, insects, and plants. The cottonwoods along the river need plenty of water to survive and provide shelter and shade for these animal, bird, and insect species. These plants and animals are not as drought tolerant as sagebrush, lizards, and other species of the high desert.
We try to educate the public, as well as everyone who comes out on our Discover Your Parks walks about the consequences of the drought and ways in which they can help to reduce the impact of the drought in the Truckee Meadows. It is important to TMPF to not only talk about the drought, but to show the actual impacts of four years with less than average precipitation. Join TMPF every Thursday at 7pm to learn about local parks and get #watersmart.