Stateline, NV – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is marking this year’s Lake Tahoe Summit by highlighting the Environmental Improvement Program’s 15 years of achievement restoring and protecting Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem.
Launched at the 1997 Presidential Forum at Lake Tahoe by then President Bill Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore, the Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) is a partnership of more than 50 federal, state, and local agencies, private interests, and the Washoe Tribe.
The Environmental Improvement Program is designed to implement the Regional Plan with a prime directive of moving the Tahoe Basin closer to environmental threshold attainment in the areas of water quality and wildlife habitat, forest management, air quality and transportation, recreation, scenic resources, applied science, and other resource areas.
“It’s our shared responsibility to protect one of America’s most treasured, clear, and pure lakes for future generations,” said TRPA Executive Director, Joanne S. Marchetta. “We are proud of the record of environmental accomplishments we and our EIP partners have made to protect and restore this beautiful place.”
Implementation of the Environmental Improvement Program began in 1998, and today, more than 400 EIP projects have been completed with hundreds more in progress including new bike trails, creek restorations, erosion control and fuels reduction projects, and programs that protect the Lake from aquatic invasive species.
“The State of Nevada is pleased to be an active partner in Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) project implementation since the Program’s inception,” said Jim Lawrence, Administrator for the Division of State Lands. “We look forward to continuing to address high priority threats to the Lake Tahoe ecosystem in collaboration with our Basin partners.”
Snapshot of the EIP
Since 1997, the Environmental Improvement Program has invested over $1.69 billion:
- $554.5 million by the Federal Government
- $647 million by California
- $110.2 million by Nevada
- $73 million by local governments
- $312.3 million by the private sector
Nearly 414 projects have been completed, and 194 are in progress or currently underway:
- Improving erosion control measures on 628 miles of roadways
- Treating 54,248 acres of hazardous fuels
- Restoring 15,896 acres of wildlife habitat, including 1,509 acres of Stream Environment Zones
- Adding 2,579 linear feet of shoreline for public access
- Creating 136 miles of bike and pedestrian routes
- Since 2009 the Aquatic Invasive Species Program has:
- Conducted approximately 29,000 watercraft inspections
- Performed over 10,000 watercraft decontaminations for all aquatic invasive species
- Treated 24.09 acres of weeds and Asian clam infestations in Lake Tahoe
“Despite great progress made by the Environmental Improvement Program, Lake Tahoe still faces considerable threats to its ecosystem,” said Nancy Gibson, USFS Supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “Issues such as catastrophic wildfires, aquatic invasive species, nearshore conditions, and the impacts of climate change require that we continue our commitment to protecting the Lake Tahoe Basin.”
“Sustained EIP funding is essential to maintain our momentum in improving the environment and the economy of Lake Tahoe,” added Patrick Wright, Executive Director of the California Tahoe Conservancy. “Our communities will be safer, our forests will be healthier, and our progress in restoring Tahoe’s famed lake clarity will be accelerated.”
“We have a shared responsibility to build on our commitment at all levels to be sure the Lake and its environs are protected.”
– President Bill Clinton, Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum, July 26, 1997
For more information on the Environmental Improvement Program please visit conservationclearly.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. For additional information, call Jeff Cowen at (775) 589-5278 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.