$3.5 million Lake Forest stream restoration moving forward | SierraSun.com

$3.5 million Lake Forest stream restoration moving forward

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunConstruction crews work Thursday morning to excavate the Lake Forest Meadow as part of Placer County's 35 acre restoration project to return the meadow and surrounding area back into a riparian wildlife habitat.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; After nearly a decade of planning, one Placer County restoration project appears on track to return the Lake Forest Meadow back into a wetland habitat, its previous condition before it was filled in during the 1960s.

The Placer County Department of Public Works Tahoe Engineering Division began the second phase of a restoration project last May and is currently working to rechannel water back through the meadow with an outlet to Lake Tahoe at Pomin Park.

Amy Green, an assistant engineer at public works, said she’s been working on the project since 2001.

and#8220;Placer County worked with the California Tahoe Conservancy, and basically we removed the fill and we’re restoring the meadow to a more natural condition,and#8221; Green said. and#8220;The idea is to restore the area to a natural environment as much as we could.and#8221;

Green said in the 1960s there were numerous natural stream channels within the project area that were destroyed, and streams were relocated into manmade conduits to make way for a proposed condominium project that never materialized.

Since the 60s, county officials have said the restoration area has become drier than normal and vegetation has dwindled, causing erosion and reduced wildlife habitat.

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and#8220;This is a major accomplishment, and we’ve worked with a fair number of agencies to get this project off the ground,and#8221; Green said.

By project’s end, the county said 35 acres will be restored.

and#8220;The project will be a real benefit to the lake, the residents, local wildlife and to the long term environmental and economic viability of the basin,and#8221; said Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, who represents Lake Tahoe in the county’s fifth district. and#8220;Our Department of Public Works has a solid record of watershed and stream environment zone restoration projects and I know they will do an excellent job in this case as well.and#8221;

In addition to the project’s wildlife and fish habitat restoration, public works officials said other benefits include improved water quality, soil erosion control, erosion control seeding, improved riparian habitat, irrigation and increased public access and interpretive opportunities.

and#8220;This is a major accomplishment, and we’ve worked with a fair number of agencies to get this project off the ground,and#8221; Green said. and#8220;It’s just a matter of getting everybody on the same page.and#8221;

According to a Placer County press release, 90 percent of the construction will be completed by the end of October, with the entire project done sometime during the 2011 construction season.

The first phase of the project that began and finished in 2008 cost about $950,000, and the second phase costs $2.6 million.