Swan Lake Erosion Control Project (NV)

Volunteer planting at Swan Lake.  (© R. Wilson)

Swan Lake Nature Study Area is a playa lake that serves as an important site for migrating waterbirds, particularly Snow Geese and Tundra Swans and many resident species.  Various species, such as American Avocet, White-faced Ibis, and several waterfowl species utilize the emergent wetland marshes for breeding and nesting habitat.  

Horse Creek drains into Swan Lake along with stormwater runoff and effluent discharge flows.  Due to regularly high flows, Horse Creek has channelized and the streambank has eroded; this has contributed to increased sedimentation at its mouth in Swan Lake.  Subsequently, an exponential growth in emergent marsh vegetation occurred, followed by a loss of habitat features necessary to sustain a variety of bird species in the lake.  

To control advancing sedimentation and restore habitat complexity, The Swan Lake Erosion Control Project focused on mitigating eroding streambanks by altering the 4:1 slopes to 2:1 slopes, widening the floodplain at the Horse Creek delta, and installing soil stabilizing plant materials.  Partners on the Swan Lake Advisory Board developed this project with funding through the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to stabilize the streambank with riprap and natural plant installations. All planting was completed through a volunteer event in the Fall of 2011.  

Installation of various plant species, such as sedges, Baltic rush, currant, lemon willow, wild rose, grasses, and forbs, will aid in decreasing erosion and will provide forage and cover for migratory birds.

Project partners included: Audubon Nevada Important Bird Areas Program, Washoe County Parks & Recreation, The Nevada Land Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada Military, City of Reno, Lahontan Audubon Society, and numerous volunteers.


For more information, see: Nevada State Conservation Partnership.