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Ward Creek (Lake Tahoe)

Ward Creek (dagásliʔ [1])
Wards Creek[2][3]
The mouth of Ward Creek on Lake Tahoe.
Country United States
State California
Region Placer County
Cities Pine Land, Timberland
Source Between Ward Peak and Twin Peaks[4] in the Granite Chief Wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains
 - elevation 7,940 ft (2,420 m) [5]
 - coordinates  [3]
Mouth Lake Tahoe
 - location Tahoe Pines
 - elevation 6,234 ft (1,900 m) [3]
 - coordinates  [3]
Beaver lodge on a side creek of Ward Creek, tributary to Lake Tahoe. Courtesy of Sherry Guzzi.
Ward Creek near Tahoe City in Placer County, California

Ward Creek is a 6.1 miles (9.8 km) eastward-flowing stream in Placer County, California, USA.[5] The creek flows into Lake Tahoe 2.7 miles (4.3 km) south of Tahoe City, California and has undergone extensive restoration to reduce sediment and surface run-off to maintain the purity of Lake Tahoe.


  • History 1
  • Watershed 2
  • Ecology 3
  • Recreation 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Ward Creek and Ward Peak[6] are named for homesteader Ward Rush, whose claim was made on April 1, 1874.[2] In the early 1980s the McClatchy family donated lands on the south side of the creek to California State Parks.[7]


Ward Creek, the fourth largest stream (by area and discharge)of the 63 Tahoe Basin watersheds contributes 6% of the stream runoff flowing into Lake Tahoe. The creek was a major source of sediment related to erosion from subdivisions and logging roads in the watershed.[8] The Ward Creek watershed drains an area of 6,200 acres (2,500 ha) and has a North Fork beginning on the south slope of Ward Peak and a South Fork originating on the north side of Twin Peaks. The Ward Creek watershed is just north of the Blackwood Creek watershed, and just south of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort which is on the north side of Ward Peak and Scott Peak. The creek mainstem is paralleled by Ward Creek Boulevard/Road.


From 2006 to 2013 Ward Creek Park was restored by California State Parks, the California Tahoe Conservancy and other partners to reduce erosion which deposites sediment in Lake Tahoe, removal of fire-prone crowded trees and removal of a diversion dam.[9]

Beaver dams on Ward Creek reduce sediment and nutrient (such as phosphorus) loads that would otherwise flow to Lake Tahoe.[10] Recent evidence has shown that beaver (Castor canadensis) are native to the Sierra Nevada.[11][12] Their dams do not appear to pose barriers to trout passage.[13]


Ward Creek Park is a California State Park whose 180 acres is bordered by Ward Creek on the north and Highway 89 on the east.[9] The area along the creek is protected by the California State Parks system. The Park has an extensive trail system that ties in with the bike path along Highway 89 and connects with USFS trails to Stanford Rock (which lies midway between Twin Peaks and the mouth of Ward Creek) and the Tahoe Rim Trail.

See also


  1. ^ "The Washo Project Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  2. ^ a b Barbara Lekisch (1988). Tahoe Place Names: the Origin and History of Names in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Lafayette, California: Great West Books. p. 147. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ward Creek
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Twin Peaks
  5. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed July 16, 2013
  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ward Peak
  7. ^ Kathryn Reed (2013-09-17). "Restoration brings out charm of Ward Creek Park". Lake Tahoe News. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  8. ^ Robert L. Leonard, Louis A. Kaplan, John F. Elder, Robert N. Coats and Charles R. Goldman (September 1979). "Nutrient Transport in Surface Runoff from a Subalpine Watershed, Lake Tahoe Basin, California". Ecological Monographs 49 (3): 281–310.  
  9. ^ a b California State Parks Completes Major Environmental Renovation of Ward Creek Unit (PDF) (Report). California State Parks. 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  10. ^ Muskopf, Sarah (October 2007). The Effect of Beaver (Castor canadensis) Dam Removal on Total Phosphorus Concentration in Taylor Creek and Wetland, South Lake Tahoe, California (Thesis). Humboldt State University, Natural Resources. p. 23. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  11. ^ James, C. D., Lanman, R. B. (Spring 2012). "Novel physical evidence that beaver historically were native to the Sierra Nevada". California Fish and Game 98 (2): 129–132. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  12. ^ R. B. Lanman, H. Perryman, B. Dolman, Charles D. James (Spring 2012). "The historical range of beaver in the Sierra Nevada: a review of the evidence". California Fish and Game 98 (2): 65–80. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  13. ^ Ryan L. Lokteff, Brett B. Roper, Joseph M. Wheaton (2013). "Do Beaver Dams Impede the Movement of Trout?" (PDF). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142: 1114–1125.  

External links

  • California State Parks: Ward Creek
  • Ward Creek Watershed Restoration
  • Ward Creek Photo gallery
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