Stateline, Nevada – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) on Wednesday recognized nine exceptional projects completed in 2017 with Best in Basin awards. Now in its 28th year, TRPA’s Best in Basin awards program each year showcases projects around the lake that demonstrate exceptional planning, implementation, and compatibility with Tahoe’s natural environment and communities.

The project implementers recognized with awards built new mountain bike trails, reduced stormwater pollution, overhauled roads to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, reduced water and energy usage, improved forest health and wildfire preparedness, and opened new businesses helping communities thrive. This year’s Best in Basin award winners are:


Ben Fish/TAMBA

Angora Ridge and Mule Deer Trails: 

Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association and the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit partnered to build five miles of trails in an area burned by the 2007 Angora Fire. The trails connect to existing trails in the area and lay the groundwork for future trail improvements. Volunteers contributed more than 2,000 hours to help build the trails.


Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement:

Placer County

Placer County and partners overhauled one mile of state Route 28 in Kings Beach and improved roads in neighborhoods adjacent to the commercial core. The project installed bike lanes, sidewalks, landscaping, and roundabouts; reduced coverage; and installed infrastructure to fix drainage issues and capture and treat stormwater runoff that harms Lake Tahoe’s clarity. Project partners: Dokken Engineering, Auerbach Engineering, Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Cardno Entrix, Design Workshop, Duggan & Duggan, Interwest Consulting Group, Nichols Consulting Engineers, Parikh Consultants, Reid Middleton, R.E.Y. Engineers, Streamline, CH2MHill, Drake Haglan, PR Design and Engineering Inc., Kelley Erosion Control, Q&D Construction, Disney Construction, Caltrans, Placer County, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, California Tahoe Conservancy, TRPA, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, East River PR, Western Botanical Services.


The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe:

Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

Following an overhaul of its golf course to restore wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat, Edgewood Properties built this world-class lodge that was recently certified as a LEED Silver building for its sustainable design and construction and energy efficiency. Project partners: CCY Architects, Design Workshop, NCE, Hirsch Bedner Associates, SMC Construction.


Meyers Stream Environment Zone/Erosion Control:

Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

El Dorado County installed numerous stormwater improvements along the roadways of Arapahoe, Bakersfield, Choctaw, Country Club, East San Bernardino, Pioneer, San Diego, Santa Fe, Sioux, and Ute, diverting stormwater to public lots where it can infiltrate into the ground and to restore a 3.5-acre wetland. The project is estimated to reduce fine sediment stormwater pollution from the area by 72 percent, about 51,000 pounds per year. Project partners: County of El Dorado Community Development Services, Department of Transportation, Thomas Haen Company, Inc.; County of El Dorado Community Development Services, Department of Transportation – Tahoe Engineering; U.S. Forest Service; California Tahoe Conservancy.


Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

South Lake Brewing Company:

Bill Olin and South Lake Brewing Company overhauled a former hardware store sitting empty for more than five years in South Lake Tahoe, turning it into a new brewery. The project redid everything from the outside façade and landscaping to the interior, turning the empty building into a community gathering place and part of Lake Tahoe’s growing brewery industry. Project partners: Robert Riegel, Greg George, Mikee Gerland, Eric Sudhausen, Mike Jepson, Tyler Chasey, Chris Smith, Ethan Lennox, Rob Sutton.


Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

Novus Select:

Corey Rich and Chris McNamara partnered to turn an old building on Ski Run Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe into the headquarters for Novus Select, a world-renowned video and photography agency. Rich and McNamara are encouraging others to see the area’s older buildings and vacant lots as a great place to live, work, and invest to help make South Lake Tahoe the outdoor recreation capitol of the world. Project partners: Sierra Sustainable, David Goldman.


Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

1127 Lone Indian Trail/South Tahoe Public Utility District Turf Buy-Back Program:

Terry and Phyllis Powers partnered with South Tahoe Public Utility District to remove more than 2,000 square feet of turf from their yard and replace it with a mosaic of flowers, native plants, and hardscape that will save thousands of gallons of water annually. In 10 years of the utility district’s turf buy-back program, 339 projects have been completed, removing 409,876 square feet of turf to reduce energy usage and save millions of gallons of water each year. Project partners: California Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board, Kathleen Maston of Natural Expressions Landscape Design, Josh Forte of Earth and Stone Landscapes.


Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

Defensible Space Collector App:

Cal Fire, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, and the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team partnered to develop a new application that allows all fire agencies at Tahoe to report and share information about defensible space inspections and compliance in one shareable tool. This provides a holistic approach to identify fire prevention and outreach needs at the homeowner and neighborhood level to help agencies and residents make strides in wildfire preparedness at Tahoe. Project partners: Nicole Shaw and Cara Moore, Tahoe Resource Conservation District; Chris Anthony, Steve Hawks and Tiffany Meyer, Cal Fire.


Tom Lotshaw/TRPA

Aspen Community Restoration:

Aspen stands are ecologically significant because of the wildlife, plants, fungi, and soil processes they support, and some aspen stands bear carvings by Basque sheepherders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Without natural disturbances like wildfire, conifers can rapidly out-compete and displace aspen stands. Since 2009, the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has reduced conifer densities in approximately 450 acres of aspen stands at Tahoe to protect the stands and help ensure they are healthy and regenerating. Project partners: Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions Crew, Bureau of Land Management and the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, and Bureau of Reclamation.

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 Tom Lotshaw, Public Information Officer, at (775) 589-5278.