$415M expansion of Lake Tahoe Restoration Act introduced Tuesday in US Senate | SierraSun.com

$415M expansion of Lake Tahoe Restoration Act introduced Tuesday in US Senate

Annie FlanzraichSierra Sun
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LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; Congress could fund $415 million in environmental improvements to Lake Tahoe, including water quality and forest management projects, according to legislation introduced Tuesday.The bill would continue the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2000 and provide eight years of federal funding to the Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program. Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John Ensign, R-Nev. and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., sponsored the legislation, introduced in the Senate.andamp;#8220;This bill is a testament to the incredible level of commitment that people in and around Lake Tahoe have to this spectacular resource,andamp;#8221; Reid said in a statement. andamp;#8220;Today, with this act, we are making it clear that we will continue our nationandamp;#8217;s commitment to protecting and restoring this jewel of the Sierras.andamp;#8221;The EIP is a joint program among federal, state, local and private stakeholders to improve Tahoeandamp;#8217;s environment.The $2.5 billion program looks to improve water quality, restore lake clarity, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species at the lake, in addition to other environmental restoration efforts.andamp;#8220;Lake Tahoe is a national treasure, but we could easily lose it andamp;#8212; and lose it quickly andamp;#8212; if we donandamp;#8217;t take robust action,andamp;#8221; Feinstein said in a statement. andamp;#8220;Invasive species, such as the quagga mussel, could literally devastate Lake Tahoe and deliver a body blow to the regional economy. Wildfires could easily spiral out of control and destroy the Basin.andamp;#8221;The US Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are the federal agencies named in the bill to implement the legislative direction.The EIP update was unanimously endorsed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board in July.andamp;#8220;Recommitting to restoration efforts at Lake Tahoe is critical to the continued improvement and preservation of this special place,andamp;#8221; Allen Biaggi, TRPA board chairman and Director of Nevada Dept. of Conservation andamp; Natural Resources, said in a statement.Since the mid-1990s, $1.4 billion has been invested to improve environmental conditions at Lake Tahoe.andamp;#8220;We appreciate the continuing support of our congressional delegation on behalf of Lake Tahoe,andamp;#8221; said Joanne Marchetta, TRPA Executive Director.The League to Save Lake Tahoe praised the effort, saying federal funding is andamp;#8220;essential for success in the effort to Keep Tahoe Blue,andamp;#8221; in a statement.The first Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was signed into law in November 2000; it authorized $300 million to be spent on restoration efforts. It helped fund the 1997 Environmental Improvement Project, which had a total price tag of $1.1 billion.An additional funding boost came In 2003 when the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act was revised to specify a dedicated annual funding stream to help fulfill the federal share of the EIP.

$523 million contribution from the federal government$415 million from California$100 million from Nevada$107 million from local governments$364 million from the private sector