Summer Issue of Tahoe In Depth Has Arrived

Summer Issue of Tahoe In Depth Has Arrived

The 26th issue of Tahoe In Depth is hitting the streets and will be in mailboxes soon. Enjoy articles on the Motel 6 acquisition and restoration, reintroducing Lahontan cutthroat trout, Tahoe Blue Beaches, and many more.

Invasive Plant Barrier Installation Complete at Popular South Shore Marsh

Invasive Plant Barrier Installation Complete at Popular South Shore Marsh

INTERAGENCY NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Victoria Ortiz, 775-589-5251 or Lisa Herron, 530-721-3898
For Immediate Release September 6, 2023

Invasive Plant Barrier Installation Complete at Popular South Shore Marsh

Public reminded to stay out of fenced areas

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Agencies restoring the Taylor and Tallac marsh areas have completed the installation of bottom barriers to remove 17 acres of invasive plants as part of the comprehensive restoration of one of the last natural wetlands in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) announced today. The collaborative project that began in December 2021 is one of the largest aquatic invasive species control projects ever undertaken in the Tahoe Basin.

“We’ve appreciated the public’s patience and cooperation as our contractors have been installing the barriers the last couple of years,” said Sarah Muskopf, aquatic biologist with the LTBMU. “Unfortunately, these marshes are infested with aquatic invasive species that threaten the ecosystem, and installing these barriers is a critical first step in restoring the area.”

Crews have staked large tarps known as bottom barriers to the bottom of the marsh to starve invasive weeds such as Eurasian watermilfoil of sunlight. Bottom barriers are commonly used in the Tahoe Basin to control infestations. Laying the barriers followed significant prep work by agency staff and volunteers from the local youth group Generation Green and Blue Waters Exchange, a Forest Service program that brings young adults from California and Hawaii together to explore cultural and natural resource issues facing both states.

The tarps are expected to remain in place through 2026. Crews will be monitoring the area throughout the treatment to ensure the barriers remain in place.

The agencies say residents and visitors have a crucial role in the restoration as well. Success of the project requires staying away from bottom barriers and out of fenced areas. Ensuring boats, paddle craft, and water toys brought to Tahoe are Clean, Drained, and Dry will further reduce the threat of new invasive species. The public is also asked to share official information about the project with others and to send any questions to the project team by visiting https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/Project/FactSheet/01.02.01.0034.

“This high-priority Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) project focuses on restoring ecological processes and functions while maintaining and enhancing existing recreational facilities and infrastructure,” said Dr. Kathleen McIntyre, TRPA’s EIP Department Manager. “It will provide improved habitat and restored ecosystem function while maintaining public access to a beloved area on the South Shore.”

Controlling invasive plants is the first phase in the larger, comprehensive Taylor and Tallac Creeks Restoration Project, according to the agencies. This multi-million-dollar project is part of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program and is funded through the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, USDA Forest Service, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, as well as $100,000 in private contributions from the Tahoe Fund.

Learn more about the project at https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/Project/FactSheet/01.02.01.0034.

Photo Caption: Agencies restoring the Taylor and Tallac marsh areas have completed the installation of bottom barriers to remove 17 acres of invasive plants as part of the comprehensive restoration of one of the last natural wetlands in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Photo credit: Lisa Herron, USDA Forest Service LTBMU

Photo Caption: The bottom barriers to remove invasive plants are expected to remain in place through 2026. Crews will be monitoring the area throughout the treatment to ensure the barriers remain in place. Photo credit: Lisa Herron, USDA Forest Service LTBMU

TRPA Announces Evening Talks with Executive Director

TRPA Announces Evening Talks with Executive Director

TRPA Announces Evening Talks with Executive Director

Originally posted July 12, 2023

Lake Tahoe, CA/NV – Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is hosting additional community conversations following the recent morning coffee talks held earlier this summer, according to TRPA. Executive Director Julie Regan will be hosting two evening talks around Lake Tahoe. These hour-long sessions aim to promote meaningful discussions on critical issues affecting our diverse communities.

Regan said she has enjoyed engaging with residents in an informal atmosphere. “I recognize that not everyone is able to meet before work, so I hope to connect with more community members during these evening sessions,” she said.

These community conversations are designed for an exchange of concerns, ideas, and aspirations over a glass of lemonade or iced tea.

The South Shore evening TRPA Talks with Julie will take place on Wednesday, July 19 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Lisa Maloff University Center at Lake Tahoe Community College, located at One College Drive in South Lake Tahoe.

The North Shore evening TRPA Talks session will be held on Thursday, August 17, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center at 291 Country Club Drive in Incline Village, Nevada.

Mark your calendars for these insightful events, where you will have the opportunity to engage directly with Julie Regan and contribute your unique perspectives. To reserve your spot for either session, please email trpa@trpa.gov. Space is limited.

###

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Victoria Ortiz, Community Engagement Manager, at (775) 589-5251 or vortiz@trpa.gov.

$3 Million in Transformative Housing Grants Awarded to the Tahoe Region

$3 Million in Transformative Housing Grants Awarded to the Tahoe Region

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Victoria Ortiz, 775-589-5251
For Immediate Release July 6, 2023

Lake Tahoe, NV/CA –Affordable housing in the Lake Tahoe Region is getting a boost thanks to a $2.4 million grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) awarded to the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), the agencies announced today. With the assistance of regional government partners, the funding will help make housing, equity, and climate goals a central focus of land use and water quality programs, according to TRPA.

As the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the basin, TRPA was also awarded a $567,000 grant through a related California program to advance housing choices, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and build upon the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, a key transportation policy document.

“These grants are game changers for Lake Tahoe and our communities,” TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan said. “They are providing the resources for our region to leverage Tahoe’s unique limits on development while bolstering affordable housing and environmental improvements, and at the same time, better engaging with underserved communities.”

Driven by the urgent need for affordable housing solutions, TRPA’s Governing Board is re-examining policies that have had the unintended consequence of incentivizing luxury development versus more affordable housing types.

The Lake Tahoe Region’s development standards are central to protecting Tahoe’s water quality and reducing the impact of new homes and businesses on the environment. However, most development in the Tahoe Basin was built decades ago and pre-dates these standards. In 2012, TRPA updated the Regional Plan to encourage redevelopment of pre-existing homes and businesses so they can meet modern water quality standards and help create more walkable town centers. While progress is being made, the agency says it is imperative to continue environmental redevelopment that simultaneously increases affordable housing options.

“Lake Tahoe can’t grow its way out of these challenges,” Regan said. “While our unique integration of environmental protection and growth management has made great strides in cultivating sustainable communities, we’re facing a new housing affordability crisis. Now we must more meaningfully engage with Tahoe’s disadvantaged and historically underserved communities to find new housing solutions for everyone.”

While most funding support for affordable housing in the Lake Tahoe Region has gone to construction of new housing on vacant land and financial assistance to individuals, the scale of the challenges in the Tahoe Basin require solutions coming from every sector, according to TRPA.

Data compiled by the Tahoe Prosperity Center shows just 28 percent of Tahoe residents can afford the median-priced home, the cost of which tripled from 2012 to 2021. A little more than 50 percent of homes in the region are occupied, with some areas being 90 percent second homes.

The agency worked closely with partner organizations and local jurisdictions to determine the most impactful set of programs for Tahoe.

“El Dorado County was honored to partner with TRPA on securing the HIT grant and we look forward to continuing the work to deliver transformative housing changes in the Tahoe Basin,” said Brendan Ferry, deputy director of El Dorado County’s Tahoe Planning and Stormwater Division.

The funds will be applied over several years to deliver:

  • An equity and climate assessment that will examine the impact of existing policies on affordability, access to opportunity, and impacts related to climate change such as greenhouse gas emissions and the region’s ability to respond to climate-related events.
  • A community engagement plan to establish long-term, two-way engagement between communities and agencies with a particular focus on disadvantaged and historically underserved communities.
  • An update of the regional growth management and development rights systems.
  • A streamlined environmental review process for transit-oriented, multi-family developments that meet water quality and other environmental goals.
  • Environmental analysis of proposed updates to the Regional Plan.

The smaller, $567,000 grant will help the agency move forward on priority housing actions identified by a special working group of TRPA Governing Board members, local government and non-profit partners, real estate professionals, and affordable housing experts. The Tahoe Living Working Group prioritized amendments to certain building standards to make it more financially feasible for private property owners and builders to construct deed-restricted workforce housing for multiple income levels. Funds are also available for outreach and engagement and creation of tools to help the public use the new codes if approved.

The grant funds will be used to advance the feasibility of constructing multi-family rental units, like duplexes and apartments, in and around town centers. Amendments to the regional code of ordinances currently under review could increase regional opportunities for building height, density, and land coverage if a project is permanently restricted to more affordable rates. For more information, visit trpa.gov/housing.

The Domus Project in Kings Beach, California, completed in 2013, provides affordable, transit-oriented housing in Placer County. Affordable housing in the Lake Tahoe Region is getting a boost thanks to $3 Million in transformative housing grants awarded to the Tahoe Region. Photo credit: TRPA.

 

Visual renderings like this one demonstrating what a potential affordable housing project could look like in Lake Tahoe are one of many community engagement tools that the grants will support. Photo credit: Design Workshop.

###

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Victoria Ortiz, Community Engagement Manager, at (775) 589-5251, vortiz@trpa.gov.

18th Annual Tahoe Bike Month Is On

18th Annual Tahoe Bike Month Is On

Lake Tahoe, CA/NV – The 18th annual Tahoe Bike Month begins June 1, with a full month of bicycling events throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin. Hosted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, Bike Month is a basin-wide celebration of biking and a friendly competition to see which individuals and teams can record the most rides. There will also be weekly prizes given out via drawings, so everyone who records a ride has a chance to win.

“We’re excited to bring people together for the 18th annual Tahoe Bike Month,” said Nick Speal, Board President of the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition. “Everybody has a different way they like to ride their bike, whether it’s up a mountain or across town, and Bike Month has something for everyone. Maybe this year you can try riding somewhere new!”

As always, Bike Month kicks off with the annual bike path cleanup in South Lake Tahoe June 1 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by a happy hour. Participants will receive bike swag such as bike lights and bells when they ride their bikes to the event. Sign up and choose your cleanup location at: www.clean-tahoe.org/bike-path-cleanup.

Local elementary and middle school students are also encouraged to get involved in Bike Month by riding their bikes to school. Students who walk or ride their bikes to school on select dates will receive bike month prizes. Volunteers will be rewarding students at Incline Elementary School, Incline Middle School, Lake Tahoe School, Kings Beach Elementary School, and Lake Tahoe Environmental Magnet school on Friday, June 2 and at Tahoe Valley Elementary School, Bijou Elementary School, Sierra House Elementary School, and South Tahoe Middle School on Wednesday, June 7 through Friday, June 9.

In preparation for bike and walk to school days, TRPA staff taught nearly 200 fourth grade Lake Tahoe Unified School District students how to bike and walk safely. The interactive Safe Routes to School lessons reviewed the rules of the road and how to properly fit a bike and helmet. These students are now well equipped to safely ride to school in June and beyond.

Community members are invited to participate in the annual Bike Month competition by registering at www.tahoebikemonth.org, connecting their account with Strava for free, and tracking their bike rides throughout the month. Participants can join as individuals or create a team and start recording rides. Each ride during the month of June is an entry to win local prizes. Check out leaderboards here: www.tahoebike.org/bike-month-leaderboard. Businesses can also get involved by providing discounts to customers that arrive by bicycle. Those businesses are featured on the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition website.

In addition to tracking rides on the website, there are several fun bike events happening all month long around the Tahoe-Truckee Region. Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition and South Lake Tahoe Library will be hosting a bike kitchen event every Friday in June, alternating between the South Shore and North Shore. Community members can bring their bikes to the bike kitchen and learn valuable mechanic and tuning skills. Visit the website to learn more about the bike kitchen events, bike path cleanups, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, Bike to Work days, the Tahoe Mountain Bike Festival, and more.

Whether you’ve been riding bikes for years or are new to the joy of life on two wheels, pump up your tires and join us for a great lineup of events. Check out this short video to help you get your bike ready to roll. Remember to share the road when driving and biking around the region. Be aware of an increased number of families riding on the road and make sure to give enough space for bikers.

For more information on Tahoe Bike Month, visit www.tahoebikemonth.org.

###

With a mission to help make Tahoe more bicycle friendly, the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to promoting bicycling, bike events, and new bicycle infrastructure such as bike paths and bike lanes throughout the Tahoe region. Learn more at tahoebike.org.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment.