Some reaches of Clear Creek above U.S. Highway 395 have experienced severe erosion as a result of fires, extreme precipitation events, and past and current human activities in the basin. Previous evaluations of erosion in the basin have concluded that most of the sediment produced and transported in the basin was associated with U.S. Highway 50, a four-lane highway that roughly parallels Clear Creek through much of the basin. During this study (water years 2004-07), construction of roads and a large residential area and golf course in the area began and are likely to affect water quality and sediment transport in the basin. Sediment data were collected between October 2003 and September 2007 (water years 2004-07) from three sites along Clear Creek. Annual suspended-sediment load was estimated to range from 1,456 tons in water year 2006 to only 100 tons in water year 2004, which corresponds to suspended-sediment yields of 93.9 tons per square mile per year in 2006 to 6.4 tons per square mile per year in 2004. In water year 2006, the suspended-sediment load on December 31, 2005, alone exceeded the combined annual load for water years 2004, 2005, and 2007. Bedload sediment was estimated to comprise 73 percent of total sediment load in the creek. Mean annual suspended-sediment yield in Clear Creek basin was much greater than yields in the Logan House, Edgewood, and Glenbrook Creek basins in the adjacent Lake Tahoe basin. Comparison of data collected during this study with data collected by university researchers in the 1970s is inconclusive as to whether fundamental changes in basin sediment characteristics have occurred during the 30-year period because different methods and sampling locations were used in the earlier studies.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Sediment Loads and Yield, and Selected Water-Quality Parameters in Clear Creek, Carson City and Douglas County, Nevada, Water Years 2004-07