Stormwater & BMPs

Stormwater and Water Quality

Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity and the health of its watersheds are closely connected to how stormwater is managed. Decades of stormwater runoff from roads and dense urban areas, vehicle exhaust, altered wetlands and streams, and inadequate stormwater pollution control has significantly impacted Lake Tahoe’s water quality.

TRPA works collaboratively with local partners to plan for and permit projects that restore Lake Tahoe’s watersheds and reduce stormwater pollution from public roadways. The BMP Action Plan guides the Stormwater Management Program, which focuses on reducing stormwater pollution from developed properties and oversees the BMP retrofit program for the region. Staff helps property owners meet TRPA’s BMP Requirements outlined in Section 60.4 of the TRPA Code of Ordinances by providing technical assistance, advancing opportunities for regional stormwater treatment, and coordinating with local jurisdiction partners permitting development projects on TRPA’s behalf.

Visit to learn about Lake Tahoe’s stormwater projects.


Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Best Management Practices, also known as BMPs, capture and infiltrate stormwater and stabilize soil to prevent erosion. This simulates pre-development conditions when precipitation would soak into the ground and be filtered by the soil, rather than running over impervious surfaces (like roofs and roads), collecting pollutants such as sediment and nutrients as it travels, and ultimately ending up in Lake Tahoe. Research proves that implementing BMPs on existing development is a critical step toward improving Lake Tahoe’s water quality and clarity.

To protect Lake Tahoe for future generations, TRPA requires all developed properties such as homes and businesses to install and maintain BMPs. TRPA staff provides free assistance to property owners, private businesses, and government agencies to advance effective BMP design and implementation on developed properties.

Once a property meets TRPA’s BMP requirements, TRPA issues a BMP Certificate. To find out if a property has a BMP Certificate, visit the Lake Tahoe Parcel Tracker at

Some properties have site characteristics (such as high ground water or shallow bedrock) that make it unfeasible to infiltrate the stormwater and are considered “site constrained”. TRPA requires these properties to install source control BMPs that stabilize soil and prevent erosion to receive a Source Control Certificate. TRPA considers them in substantial compliance with BMP requirements, until a regional stormwater treatment program becomes available for their area. At that time, TRPA requires they participate in the program to receive a BMP Certificate.

When a Tahoe property undergoes a real-estate transaction, TRPA requires disclosure of the property’s BMP status from the seller to the buyer and submittal of TRPA’s real estate disclosure form within 30 days of sale: Real Estate Disclaimer Form

For information visit or call the BMP hotline at (775) 589-5202.