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California Tahoe Conservancy board authorizes $900K for climate, sustainability grants

Submitted to the Sierra Sun
A rendering is shown of bicycle and pedestrian improvements included in the proposed Tahoe Valley Greenway in South Tahoe.
Courtesy of California Tahoe Conservancy

The California Tahoe Conservancy has authorized $912,000 for grants to advance climate change adaptation and improve community sustainability in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

According to a news release, the conservancy board approved three climate adaptation grants, all funded by Proposition 68, which was passed by voters in 2018:

$186,836 to the University of California, Davis, Tahoe Environmental Research Center for a field study of seedlings from sugar pine trees that survived the 2012-2016 drought. Results of this study will help forest managers adapt to climate change impacts by selecting sugar pine seed stocks that are best suited for restoration projects in the Basin.

$250,000 to the South Tahoe Public Utility District to assess the vulnerability of the Basin’s water infrastructure to climate change impacts, including the heightened risk of wildfires, and to design projects to harden water and sewer infrastructure to such impacts.

$100,000 to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to update its inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and to assess the potential of the Basin landscape to capture and store carbon.

“Work funded by these grants will help position Lake Tahoe communities to better adapt to the effects and hazards of our changing climate,” said El Dorado Supervisor and Conservancy Board Chair Sue Novasel.

The California Tahoe Conservancy Board also approved a $375,000 sustainable communities grant, using Proposition 68 funds, to the City of South Lake Tahoe to complete the final design for its Tahoe Valley Stormwater and Greenbelt Improvement Project.

The city plans to develop a walkable, bikeable, and scenic connection from the dense commercial South Tahoe “Y” area to adjacent neighborhoods, while treating storm water runoff that drains to the Upper Truckee River and Lake Tahoe. The Conservancy will also allow the city to use 20 conservancy parcels for improvements included in the project, such as storm water basins, meadow restoration, public paths, and education exhibits.

At the same meeting, the board also approved the conservancy’s purchase of two environmentally sensitive properties using $3,000 in Proposition 68 funds: a 1.15-acre parcel on the Upper Truckee River in El Dorado County and a 0.16-acre property in Placer County that will nearly complete the conservancy’s ownership of the undeveloped Mark Twain subdivision located south of Tahoe City.

“The purchase supports the conservancy’s goal of preventing future development by acquiring remaining private properties in Lake Tahoe’s undeveloped subdivisions,” the release states. “The acquisition also provides public access to open space for recreation.”

The board also approved a long-term license to allow the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit to maintain an existing groundwater monitoring well on a conservancy property in El Dorado County. The forest service uses the well to monitor groundwater contamination from the site of the former Meyers Landfill.


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