Lake Tahoe Restoration Act | It Really Has A Lot To Offer

Claire Weiss |
Lake Tahoe. Photo credit: Claire Weiss


Sunset at Lake Tahoe. Photo credit: Claire Weiss

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful lake where California and Nevada meet and it is the largest Alpine Lake in North America.

Recently in July 2015 the Lake Tahoe restoration act   S 1724 was introduced and then was reported to Senate in May 2016.

Cosponsors of the act are Sen. Dianne Feinstein,  Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Harry Reid.

Lake Tahoe is a national treasure. Her alpine beauty has drawn and inspired people for centuries, from poets and artists like John Muir and Mark Twain to countless millions of people the world over.

But the “Jewel of the Sierra” is in trouble, threatened by invasive species – such as the quagga mussel, which could devastate the lake’s biology and the regional economy – as well as pollution and drought. If we don’t take robust action, we could lose Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin to any number of serious threats. Eighteen years ago, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore held a Presidential Forum at Lake Tahoe. The Forum signaled a renewed federal commitment to the restoration of the Lake Tahoe Basin, in partnership with the States of California and Nevada, as well as the Tahoe community. — Dianne Feinstein

Born in San Francisco, Feinstein graduated from Stanford and began career in politics in 1962. She cosponsored the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in 2000, which began a 10-year clean-up effect. The bill authorized $300 million in federal funds to be spent on efforts to restore Lake Tahoe. But the bill has expired, that’s why she has started campaign to propose the bill again in 2015 .

If approved, the new bill will authorize the following programs:

  • Wildfire Prevention: Provides $150 million for fire risk reduction and forest management. These dollars go toward fuel reduction projects in high-risk areas to restore forest health and wildlife habitat. A House provision focused on streamlining approvals for these types of activities was also included.

  • The Environmental Improvement Program (EIP): Provides $80 million to jumpstart projects spanning from new bike trails to creek restoration and fire treatment. Some previous EIP projects that have benefited the region include the Heavenly Gondola and Village, the Angora Fire rehabilitation, Lake View Commons, the Sand Harbor Visitor Center, and the Incline Creek Restoration.

  • The Invasive Species Management Program: Provides $45 million to prevent the introduction of the quagga mussel and manage other harmful invasive species like the Asian clam. This includes lake-wide aquatic invasive species control and a watercraft inspection program.

  • Stormwater Projects: Sets aside $113 million to implement stormwater management, erosion control, and watershed restoration projects. Stormwater runoff from roads and the urban areas in the basin, vehicle exhaust, altered wetlands and streams, and inadequate stormwater pollution control have significantly impacted Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity.

  • The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program: Allocates $20 million to recover the Lahontan cutthroat trout — a federally threatened species and Nevada’s state fish.

  • Increases Accountability and Oversight: Provides $5 million to ensure projects will have monitoring and assessment in order to determine the most cost-effective projects and ensure dollars are properly utilized.

  • Overall Management Improvement: Sets aside $2 million to cover the cost of land exchanges and sales on both the California and Nevada sides of the Tahoe Basin that will improve efficiencies of public land management.

The bill authorizes up to $415 million in future federal funding appropriations over the next seven years. It has been passed Senate as part of S.2848 Water Resource Development Act in September 2016. Now it is waiting for House approval. If signed by President it will become a law.

“The importance of this bipartisan legislation for Lake Tahoe cannot be overstated. We would like to thank our congressional delegation for its strong leadership in the passage of this bill, and our many partners around the lake for their vocal support,” stated Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Lake Tahoe this morning. photo: yimmers/snowbrains
Lake Tahoe this morning. photo: yimmers/snowbrains


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