Best in Basin Awards


31st annual Best in Basin Awards

TRPA’s annual Best in Basin awards program showcases projects, programs, and actions around Lake Tahoe that demonstrate exceptional planning, implementation, and compatibility with Tahoe’s natural environment and communities. Nominations were May 17 and the nomination period is closed.

The categories this year are:

  • Water Quality, Scenic Improvement, and Watershed Restoration
    Ex: Residential or commercial projects, environmental redevelopment, aquatic invasive species management, stream restoration
  • Climate Resilience and Sustainability
    Ex: Electric vehicle charging, alternative energy, single-use plastic reduction
  • Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization
    Ex: Deed-restricted workforce housing, walkability improvements, Complete Streets projects
  • Transportation and Sustainable Recreation
    Ex: Microtransit, multi-use pathways, parking management, litter cleanups
  • Forest Health and Defensible Space
    Home hardening, Fire Adapted Communities, forest fuel reduction, water infrastructure for firefighting
  • Science and Innovation
    Ex: Robotic cleanups, microplastics research, aquatic invasive species pilot projects

Questions? Contact Jeff Cowen at or (775) 589-5278.

Program Information

The Best in the Basin Awards program runs every two years and evaluations take place the following spring when project sites can be viewed without snow. Nominations in 2024 can only include projects that were complete in 2022 or 2023. If it is a TRPA-permitted project, the final inspection should be complete and/or the security returned to be nominated. Programs and actions that showed results in those two years can also be nominated.

Nominations will be evaluated by a panel of TRPA staff, partner agency staff, and local experts. Projects will be judged on their merits, however, quality images are suggested as a way to illustrate key features and could be used in the award presentation.

If you know of individuals in our community who deserve to be recognized for exceptional commitment to protecting Lake Tahoe, the Lake Spirit Awards alternate with Best in the Basin and nominations will open in 2025.

Lake Spirit Awards


2023 Lake Spirit Award winners announced!

In 2011, TRPA introduced the Lake Spirit Awards to recognize individuals in our community who show exceptional commitment to protecting Lake Tahoe. Besides nominations for an exemplary citizen of Lake Tahoe, people can also nominate someone in the agency representative/environmental scientist category.

Lake Spirit Awardees exhibit not only a strong commitment to the Lake Tahoe environment, but also model a spirit of collaboration and cooperation in their efforts. One North Shore and one South Shore winner is selected for each category.

Thank you for sharing in our commitment to restoring Lake Tahoe while creating sustainable communities.

Questions? Contact Victoria Ortiz at or (775) 589-5251.

Past Winners

2020 Spirit of TRPA Award Winners – In celebration of TRPA’s 50th anniversary, the agency bestowed “Spirit of TRPA” awards in lieu of Lake Spirit Awards to celebrate individuals by the decades who embody the essence of collaboration in the basin.

2019 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2018 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2017 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2015 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2014 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2013 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2012 Lake Spirit Award Winners

2011 Lake Spirit Award Winners