LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is developing a plan to restore Meeks Creek to a more natural condition, while continuing to support sustainable recreation opportunities. The LTBMU, in conjunction with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, will host a virtual public workshop on the project from 5:30-7:30 pm on August 19, 2020.
Meeks Bay’s development legacy dates back to 1960 when the marina of approximately 120 boat slips and a boat launch facility was dredged at the mouth of Meeks Creek, on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The marina eliminated unique wetland habitat for numerous bird, mammal, and amphibian species. The deteriorating condition of the existing marina infrastructure, along with concerns over water quality, aquatic invasive species, and degraded habitat for native species prompted the need for action in Meeks Bay.
“We’re excited to be moving forward with this high priority project,” said Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor, Matthew Jedra. “The site is just downstream from the Washoe Tribe’s restoration of Meeks Meadow. Combined, these projects will improve conditions for wildlife species and restore a critical section of the Meeks Creek Watershed.”
The proposed project aims to:
- Restore a functioning stream and lagoon ecosystem
- Control and eradicate aquatic invasive species
- Enhance fish and wildlife habitat
- Provide sustainable recreation opportunities and access
- Improve educational and interpretive opportunities
- Restore habitat for Tahoe yellow cress, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and species of value to the Washoe Tribe
“Meeks Bay is an iconic part of Lake Tahoe and connects the indigenous stewards of Lake Tahoe, the Washoe people, to a modern restoration opportunity,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta. “We are pleased to be part of the partnership to restore this incredible resource.”
The public workshop on Wednesday, August 19 from 5:30-7:30 pm will introduce the project and planning process, describe the site’s history and the need for restoration, and introduce alternative themes and solicit input on alternative considerations.
In addition to public workshops, a representative stakeholder forum will explore concepts and evaluate ideas that will inform the planning process and ensure the environmental analysis includes the best information and science. The stakeholder forum includes community groups, property owner associations, and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, among others. The agencies expect to have draft alternatives ready for public input by summer of 2021.
Learn more about the project and public workshops at www.meeksbayproject.org.
The Meeks Bay Restoration Project aims to restore Meeks Creek to a more natural condition while continuing to support sustainable recreation opportunities. This project is multi-year collaborative initiative convened by the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, to engage key community groups and the public at large in the development of project alternatives. Learn more at www.meeksbayproject.org.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
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, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.