We’ve been talking about restoration efforts at Loney Meadow for many years. We admit, Loney Meadow is at the top of our list of favorite local meadows. Curious what all the fuss is about? Read on to find out how to enjoy all the restoration efforts while you recreate at Loney Meadow.
History of Loney Meadow
Located in the Tahoe National Forest, Loney Meadow is a beautiful meadow that supports a diverse and fragile ecosystem. Loney Meadow makes up a part of a larger meadow complex in the Grouse Ridge that drains into the Canyon Creek sub-watershed.
Road building, fire suppression, and historic grazing and logging activities have impacted many meadows in the Sierra Nevada. In Loney Meadow, these activities have resulted in a partially incised stream channel, destabilized stream banks, an instream habitat that lacks complexity, compromised wetland vegetation communities, and encroachment by disturbance tolerant non-native species. The greatest current threat to the meadow is continued incision of Texas Creek, which lowers the water table and disconnects the channel from its historic floodplain. Smaller threats are gully erosion at an abandoned roadbed and encroachment of conifers.
In 2011, SYRCL began working at Loney Meadow with the Tahoe National Forest to assess meadow conditions, restore aspen habitat, improve the interpretive trail, improve stream habitat, and monitor greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration.
The main goals of the restoration project include:
(1) improve plant and wildlife habitat
(2) recharge groundwater
(3) reduce stream erosion
(4) increase carbon sequestration
In September and October of 2017, the Tahoe National Forest and SYRCL restored stream and wetland habitat across the 50-acre meadow. Ongoing and future restoration efforts include summer cattle exclusion fencing around native plants, active native vegetation planting at the inflow of the meadow, and building a bridge where the interpretive trail crosses Texas Creek.
Loney Meadow Interpretive Trail
If you’re looking to admire the restoration work, or just enjoy the sights, check out the Loney Meadow Interpretive Trail. The trail loops 1.5 miles around the meadow, crossing Texas Creek partway through. Scattered throughout the trail are placards with information on the ecology and history of the meadow.
Depending on the time of year, Loney Meadow is full of wonders. Spring and summer are great for viewing spectacular displays of native wildflowers. Fall visits are abound with showy golden leaves from the aspen stand on the north side of the meadow. Loney Meadow attracts many different wildlife species that those with a keen ear and eye can easily observe utilizing the meadow’s gifts of food and water.
Questions about SYRCL’s restoration work?
Alecia Weisman, River Science Program Manager