Fast, powerful and healthy, the Truckee River is doing well this year. This year we have seen it all in Northern Nevada from rain to snow, and flooding. While flooding has it's negative impacts, there are some positives though. Mainly for our environment. 

"After so many years of drought, this water is very helpful to the flood plain ecosystem," said Lori Leonard from The Nature Conservancy. 

Our native plants and animals are loving the added moisture and vitamins. A group of Cottonwood Trees along the Truckee were planted in 2008 and have grown quite a bit since then. Some of them are now surrounded by water, too. Healthy, well hydrated plants have a stronger immune system making it easier for them to ward off invasive species. With the riverbed expanding farther out this year during flooding events, some plants may have received river water for the first time in years. 

"The grass is coming in really well and we're excited to see how the vegetation is going to be reacting," added Leonard. 

Native plants like our Golden Currants are doing well too. In return, it helps our birds get food to eat and have a place to nest. The Nature Conservancy will be planting many more of these plants in the days to come. The recent flooding is also a good test for the conservancy's ongoing lower river restoration project which began in 2003. The purpose of it is to reconnect the river to the flood plain. The project also works to spread out the river so it flows more gradually and is not as deep. A deep river would create more flooding concerns than positives.

"We are pretty excited that we're not dealing with a lot of erosion in these areas," said Leonard. 

A thin layer of sediment is a good thing though as it provides nutrients to our native species. A healthy habitat means more food for our animals. Beavers for example love Cottonwood Trees. While we might not love all of the recent flooding, our ecosystem is saying it's about time. The Nature Conservancy will be planting around 3,000 plants this spring, and is looking for volunteers. You can head to their website for more information.