How We Operate
Established in 1969, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was the nation’s first bi-state regional environmental planning agency. Our mission is to lead 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.
Our vision is for a Lake environment that is sustainable, healthy, and safe for the community and future generations.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency protects and restores Lake Tahoe’s environment while revitalizing and enhancing our communities. TRPA is charged with regional planning, development and redevelopment oversight, regulatory enforcement, and implementation of environmental protection and restoration programs for the Lake Tahoe Region.
The Bi-State Compact and the Regional Plan
High in the Sierra Nevada and split by the California and Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is one of the world’s largest, deepest, clearest, and most spectacular mountain lakes. In the 1960s Lake Tahoe faced a critical crossroads as rapid development threatened its future. Regulatory authority for the 500-square-mile watershed was fractured, split among the two states, five counties, and a city. In response to the crisis, and growing concerns Lake Tahoe would be irreparably harmed, the two states decided to come together to create an agency to manage growth and development in the watershed and lead a shared, cooperative mission to conserve and restore the lake and its unique environment.
In 1969, California and Nevada established the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency with the consent of Congress through a bi-state compact. TRPA is the nation’s first environmental organization with land use authority crossing state lines and continues to be unique in the United States.
The bi-state compact charges TRPA with establishing a regional plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin with the mandate to achieve environmental standards, called thresholds. Environmental threshold standards set long-term environmental goals for the Region. Many of the thresholds will take generations to achieve and will require a lasting commitment to environmental improvement over time. The Regional Plan outlines actions to attain these thresholds that restore Lake Tahoe while balancing economic and community vitality. The compact gives TRPA authority to enforce the Code of Ordinances designed to protect and attain the thresholds.
Although the Compact designates TRPA as the leader of environmental standards in the Lake Tahoe Basin, TRPA works in cooperative partnership with other organizations, agencies, and many private property owners to implement Environmental Improvement Program projects that enhance the community and restore and enhance the environment.
50 Years Protecting Lake Tahoe
In 2020, the agency celebrated its 50th anniversary with a look back at the some of the major moments in the protection and restoration of Lake Tahoe. Watch this short video to learn more.