Natural Resources Plan

Data, Information, and Land-Use Planning

TMRPA recognizes the need for a more coordinated approach to natural resource planning in the Truckee Meadows, thus the Natural Resource Plan was born.

TMRPA’s Primary Goals Are To:

  • Develop a centralized document to coordinate natural resource planning efforts in our Region and create a map of natural resource areas that should be protected
  • Create an inventory of natural resource data and information in the Truckee Meadows as well as organizations and contacts that manage and/or protect them
  • Identify, describe and better contextualize natural resource issues and develop policy recommendations to be included in the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan

Check out the
NR Data Portal!

What Are Natural Resources?

Natural resources are often considered raw, naturally occurring materials that come from the Earth and our surrounding atmosphere, existing without any actions of humankind. For our Natural Resource Plan effort, we broaden that definition to include interactions where humans have an impact on the natural environment, both in terms of utilization and conservation. The residents of the Truckee Meadows use, modify, and enjoy natural resources in a variety of ways that are beneficial to us, such as generating geothermal power or taking a hike on a regional trail. Sometimes human activity can lead to the loss or degradation of natural resources, like the loss of habitat as development encroaches toward the wildlands on the edges of our community.

The goal of the TMRPA Natural Resource Plan is to bring together as much data and information as possible that describes the natural resource challenges and opportunities in our region. These data will be organized and maintained for use by local planning staff, community leaders, non-profits, and residents in general. Our secondary aim is to identify a subset of that data and information that are reliably maintained by an official source and can underpin improvements to the natural resource policy section of the 2019 Regional Plan.

Breaking Down The NR Plan Categories

Physical Resources

Physical Resources are raw, naturally occurring materials that come from the Earth and our surrounding atmosphere, existing without any actions of humankind. These resources have various characteristics, uses, and values, such as providing for municipal water supply, scenic and aesthetic value, scientific research, and cultural value. Example resources in this category include non-living natural resources, such as minerals, land, and water.

Topic Areas:

Water quality is an important consideration in our region as maintaining healthy water is essential to ensuring us as well as animal and plant life may thrive now and into the future

As our community is situated in a desert climate, water supply is a key consideration in sustaining our community

Mining has a significant impact on natural resources and it is important to balance these impacts with the potential economic benefits that also ensue

Biological Resources & Ecology

Biological Resources consist of living organisms that exist without any actions of humans. We also include humankind’s use of these resources for agriculture and livestock in this category. These resources have various characteristics, uses and values, and this category provides consideration for important topics such as conservation of species, invasive species, aesthetic value of vegetation, and scientific study and discovery. Examples of this type of resource include plants and wildlife.

Topic Areas:

This topic focused on the wildlands and wildlife that call our region home, conservation of these natural resources and preservation of these unique landscapes requires coordination among landowners, government agencies, non-profits, advocacy groups and individuals

Noxious weeds are plants that have been identified to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment while invasive species are defined as exotic or not native to an environment and have been determined to be detrimental to other species or resources

This topic focuses on the protection of lands that are important for crops, husbandry or other agricultural uses and their interaction with surrounding lands and the region as a whole

This topic focuses on the ancient environment of our Region including the climate, geography, and biology of these times. Palaeoenvironmental sciences apply the scientific method toward observing, describing, and understanding earth system process that have operated in the the past and have led to the abiotic and biotic interactions that operate on Earth today.

Cultural Landscape

A historic or cultural resource is any site, building, structure, object, district, traditional cultural place, or cultural/historic landscape that has historical or cultural significance. These resources can be tangible remains of past human activity or sacred spaces with traditional cultural value.

Topic Areas:

Understanding Native American cultures provides a more comprehensive and accurate historical perspective.  These cultures continue to evolve and play a vital role in contemporary society and by coordinating with these sovereign nations we can enhance our Regions resiliency

Historical sites include the significant buildings, sites, structures, landscapes, and objects that have come to distinguish the character of our city.  This topic identifies the importance of protecting these places

Sustainability & Resiliency

Sustainability is an approach to planning that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Resiliency describes a community’s ability to endure physical, social and economic shocks and stresses. With both concepts the goal is to plan in a way that allows communities to forestall or withstand hazards and environmental variability, such as flooding and climate change.

Topic Areas:

An overarching topic that impacts many of the topics due to increase in natural disasters, seasonality length and time changes, and ambient air temperature shifts

In the Truckee Meadows there are a variety air quality concerns, including particulate matter and ozone from a variety of sources, that must be considered and planned for to ensure a healthy region for all

This topic considers sustainable and resilient energy production and how to balance it with impacts to wildlife, development, etc

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation is a broad concept that describes a range of activities and landscapes. These activities vary depending on the physical environment they are being carried out in and to some degree the population engaging in them. Activities considered in this category include hiking, hunting, snow sports and water sports.

Topic Areas:

This topic area considers the range of opportunities for residents and visitors when it comes to our trail and pathway network. We also discuss the need for greater trail connectivity in the Truckee Meadows region.

This topic area refers to the spaces within the Region that are set aside for recreational use, such as parks, water bodies, forest and sports grounds. 

Our Region has a variety of sports to enjoy year round. This topic area focuses on both winter and summer sports and the importance of sustaining these for our community’s quality of life here in the Truckee Meadows.

Development & Open Land Interactions

The Development and Open Land Interactions category takes into account how our pattern of development – that is, where we put housing, roadways, and other aspects of the built environment – can affect naturally occurring land that provides habitat for wildlife, scenic resources, open space, and recreational opportunities. Challenges with managing the balance of these factors include issues such as Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), wildfire management, and open-space preservation.

Topic Areas:

This topic addresses the variety of ownership and uses on unbuilt lands and how these uses differ. It also considers the variety of uses allowed on federally and publicly owned lands and the importance of protecting these areas

The Wildland Urban Interface topic looks at the impacts development has on wildland areas and the outcomes of building on the fringes of our community

This topic explores the complex issue of feral and wild horses in our Region and best practices regarding management of these horses

Overview and Background

In 2019 the latest update to the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan was adopted. As part of the 2019 Truckee Meadows Regional Plan, a policy was adopted stating that “TMRPA will facilitate a cooperative approach to developing a plan that addresses natural resources regionally, by working in conjunction with regional partners and the wider region. As part of this natural resources plan a map will be created identifying various natural resource areas that should be protected.” In addition, Nevada Revised Statutes 278.0274 subsection 2, requires that the Regional Plan include goals, policies, maps and other documents relating to, “Conservation, including policies relating to the use and protection of air, land, water and other natural resources, ambient air quality, natural recharge areas, floodplains and wetlands, and a map showing the areas that are best suited for development based on those policies.”

Given the abundance of natural resources, as well as the variety of agencies that are involved with the management and protection of these resources in the Truckee Meadows, the need for a centralized document to coordinate natural resource planning efforts is imperative. Additionally, as part of this document, an inventory of known natural resources will need to be taken, including a map identifying areas that should be protected, along with a centralized regional database of pertinent information regarding natural resources. It is expected that a combination of local, state, federal, and non-profit data sources will need to be utilized in the creation of this document. Most of the acquired data is expected to describe specific geographies and be easily represented spatially, however some data, such as that relating to climate change, may be broader and less specific in its representation.

Who is leading this effort?

The Truckee Meadows
Regional Planning Agency

The Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency (TMRPA) is committed to supporting comprehensive and innovative approaches for economic development and community planning for the cities of Reno and Sparks, as well as Washoe County. In addition to facilitating land-use, infrastructure provision and resource management conversations among public and private decision makers, TMRPA also serves as a collaborative information and data warehouse, coordinating regional data collection and delivering advanced geospatial analytics for regional solutions.

Who has been selected as TMRPA’s consultant?

Stantec (formerly Cardno Inc)

TMRPA identified that consultant assistance will be needed in both Phase 1, scope of work development and Phase 2, completion of the project tasks as identified in the scope. As part of Phase 1, TMRPA assembled a  steering committee, comprised of representatives from local, state, federal, and non-profit organizations and is intended to act as a guiding influence to help keep the NR project on track. On July 26th, the steering committee held its first meeting to provide feedback, confirm project goals, define natural resources of interest and refine the draft scope of work. Cardno, Inc. was ultimately awarded the contract to consult on the Natural Resources Plan and to assist with data gathering.


Where You


Mini-Informational Series

In the spirit of continuing to show off why we love our home and why land use planning for our future is so important, we want to continue to highlight more reasons to love where we live! From local environmental and sustainability projects, to our unique Great Basin high desert biome and riparian areas teeming with wildlife, to the many outdoor recreational activities we get to enjoy, we want show our fellow Truckee Meadows community what motivates us to work on the Natural Resources Plan. We hope you enjoy our Love Where You Live mini-informational series!

Check Out Our Self-Guided Field Trips

Dive into TMRPA's tour of notable environmentally related sites throughout the Truckee Meadows

Our first field trip begins in Sparks at the Truckee River Narrows where you can hop out and take a look around. Then as you head south to your next destination, we discuss UNR Farms, which can be seen on your way to the Rosewood Nature Study Area. After exploring the Study Area on foot, we finish the tour with a brief overview of the Daybreak Development Area. 

Our second field trip focuses on the Hungry Valley Recreation Area, more commonly known as Moon Rocks. In addition to an overview of Moon Rocks, we also discuss various notable mountain ranges, such as the Pah Rahs, Virginia Peak, and Painted Hills, which can all be seen on your way to Moon Rocks.

Our third field trip takes you south within our Region starting with a look at Ormat, a local geothermal power plant. Next, you will continue on to Washoe Lake to learn more about the wildlife and recreational opportunities our community gets to enjoy from this shallow and small but teeming-with-wildlife lake!

Natural Resource Plan Event Photos

Thanks for joining us!

This site will be updated throughout TMRPA’s natural resource initiative to reflect the current activities and progress of the plan.
Check back in and stay tuned for more!