Jump to Navigation

Meeting will look at how to keep urban slobber out of northwest Reno stream

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • November 13, 2009

Experts will outline plans for Chalk Creek, a tributary of the Truckee River, and discuss ways residents and businesses in the area are contributing to its pollution with everyday practices described as “urban slobber.”

Chalk Creek winds about 5 miles from the flanks of Peavine Peak through northwest Reno neighborhoods before entering the Truckee River.

Along the way, it picks up dense concentrations of salts and algae nutrients, the result of overwatering of lawns, heavy fertilizing, washing cars on driveways and similar practices, said Lynell Garfield, a hydrologist for the city of Reno.

It’s caused Chalk Creek to become one of the region’s more polluted streams, tainting quality of Truckee River water that provides 80 percent of the area’s water supply.

“If we don’t look at the source, we’re never going to clean up that creek,” said Garfield, who will explain plans to clean up the creek, such as creating a wetlands near Rainbow Ridge Park to help naturally filter creek water.

Officials say residents must make some changes for the effort to succeed:

Do not over water and let irrigation water run into storm drains.
Conserve water through drip irrigation, use of soaker hoses, micro-spray systems and nozzles when washing cars.
Do not over fertilize and never fertilize near ditches, streams over other water bodies.
Store pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals in a covered area.
Use non-toxic, alternative pest control.