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Feds To Review 2008 Truckee Canal Breach

Bureau of Reclamation / courtesy

Bureau of Reclamation / courtesy

The Bureau of Reclamation has begun the environmental review process for repairs to the Truckee Canal that broke and flooded  590 properties in the Nevada town of Fernley seven years ago.

Terri Edwards is the Lahontan Basin area manager for the bureau. She says engineers have not yet decided which part of the canal will be repaired first.
"We're looking at doing a phased approach that would take those sections of the canal that we identified in the risk assessment and repair those sections where it's not as safe as we would like it to be."
She says once the agency finishes the environmental review and finds a way to fund the project, the bureau will repair the canal one section at a time.
"You could do a concrete slurry wall, sheet pile -either metal or plastic, driving those into the embankment- or you could put concrete linings in the canal. In sections where you have enough right-of-way, you could actually just widen the embankment with more dirt."
The canal was completed in 1905 and had a maximum flow limit of 1200 cubic feet per second.
The bureau believes a combination of rodent burrows and a rapid increase in water flow down the canal caused the breach.
Since the rupture, the canal flow has been limited to 300 cubic feet per second. Repairs would allow 600 cubic feet per second for transport to  urban and agricultural areas. 
Repairing all 31 miles of canal would cost about $60 million. The first phase will cost about $12 million.
The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District would be required to repay the repair costs.
Public comment on the project will be accepted through the end of November.

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