Lake Tahoe environmental summit next week to urge collaboration |

Lake Tahoe environmental summit next week to urge collaboration

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 13, the Tahoe Gal cruises the West Shore of Lake Tahoe on what appeared to be the busiest day on the lake so far this summer. The drought has lowered Tahoe's lake level, and has had impacts on how boats can launch. The effects of the drought and climate change will be discussed next week in Incline Village.
Courtesy Jenny Goldsmith |

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Open collaboration will be a focal point for a first-of-its-kind summit addressing environmental concerns and their potential impacts on Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Lake Tahoe Sustainable Communities Program will host the area’s first-ever sustainability summit June 22-23 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, entitled “Connections 2015.”

“The realization is that we’re going to be looking at complex environmental problems over the next decade,” said TRPA spokesman Tom Lotshaw. “The goal of the summit is to recognize that we’re facing these challenges, and that they are solvable only through collaboration.”

The summit will take place at the same time in the same hotel as a separate meeting with the Western Governor’s Association. According to the WGA meeting agenda, the top-lined item for discussion will address “Managing Drought: Findings of the Governors’ Drought Forum.”

Though it appears the scheduling of these events is coincidence, Lotshaw admits it is an opportunity for summit organizers and speakers to potentially lend additional perspective to the concerns the summit hopes to address.

“It’s a great opportunity, and hopefully some of the governors will attend,” Lotshaw said. “I’d like to think they would be talking about the same issues.”

“These are the same issues that are impacting areas all over the West.”

The WGA meeting will also feature a keynote from Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell, as well as a discussion entitled “How Collaboration Drives Environmental and Economic Success at Tahoe,” according to the WGA agenda.

Meanwhile, Connections 2015 will include panels of experts in the fields of environmental study and sustainability, from organizations like the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability and the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

Additional workshops will focus on ways these organizations and others can better collaborate on issues as they impact areas from the metropolitan to the rural.

Panels will include discussion on issues like “Forest Health and Water Security,” “Transportation, Recreation, and Access,” and “Valuing the Mountain-Urban Connection,” according to the summit agenda.

“It’s about strengthening the message and raising awareness about the issues we face and addressing those issues together,” Lotshaw said.

The TRPA recently won a National Planning Achievement Award for an environmental action plan from the American Planning Association.

The plan, developed in coordination with El Dorado and Placer counties, the city of South Lake Tahoe, California Tahoe Conservancy and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Sierra Nevada Alliance, calls for measures for residents, businesses, governments and others confronting the impacts of climate change, according to a TRPA statement.

In it, TRPA program manager Karin Edwards notes “bottom up” participation in crafting the plan, “which addresses vital ecosystem preservation strategies while also offering a comprehensive approach to community and economic vitality.”

Events are set to begin on June 22 with a meet and greet scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Hyatt.

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