Stateline, NV – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Stormwater Management Program announced today the release of the BMP Designer – a GIS-based online tool that allows property owners and contractors to design their own residential stormwater and erosion control Best Management Practices (BMPs), and is available for free at

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are retrofit measures required on all private properties in the Lake Tahoe Region to control erosion and infiltrate stormwater before it leaves the property. BMPs can range from simple gravel infiltration trenches under roof driplines to paving dirt driveways and stabilizing steep slopes. Providing free technical assistance to residential property owners is a key component of the retrofit program since science has shown that 72 percent of the fine sediment clouding Lake Tahoe’s famously clear water is coming from urban areas, including neighborhoods far from the shoreline.  Free BMP evaluations are available from local resources conservation districts, but TRPA is adding the online BMP Designer tool to make it easier and more efficient for residential owners to help save Lake Tahoe, according to TRPA’s Stormwater Management Specialist, Louis Cariola.

“In consideration of dwindling funds for on-site BMP evaluations, the new BMP Designer is an additional resource to help residential property owners complete their BMPs,” said Louis Cariola, of TRPA’s Stormwater Management Program. “Once approved by TRPA staff, the resulting design specifications of this new tool will function as an approved BMP design,” he said.

In order to utilize the BMP Designer, users should have knowledge of their property’s physical characteristics including:

  • The direction water flows on the property;
  • Where utilities are located (always call 811 prior to digging);
  • Proximity to a stream environment zones (SEZ) or seasonal high groundwater;
  • Locations of existing BMPs;
  • Existing vegetation, lawns, planter bed/boxes, trees, rock outcroppings, retaining walls;
  • Flat or depressed areas for use as possible infiltration basins;
  • Driveway shape and varying slopes (conduct a garden hose test to verify);
  • Gutter and downspout locations (if installed);
  • Photos & other information about the property.

The BMP Designer includes links to helpful information from the BMP Handbook.  TRPA Stormwater Management staff will be available to provide instructions on using the BMP Designer at the TRPA offices in Stateline on Wednesdays between 9am and 12pm and 1pm and 4pm through December 18, 2013. Call 775-589-5202 or email for an appointment.

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, call Kristi Boosman at (775) 589-5230 or email her at