Lake Tahoe West releases story map for ongoing, proposed projects | SierraSun.com
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Lake Tahoe West releases story map for ongoing, proposed projects

Staff report

Lake Tahoe West partners have released a new interactive story map to explain ongoing and proposed actions to restore forests and watersheds across 59,000 acres of Lake Tahoe’s west shore.

Community members and visitors can use the story map to learn more about the threats to the west shore landscape, and how science is informing a landscape-scale restoration approach to addressing those threats.

Through the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, land management agencies, local partners, and other stakeholders are working together to increase resilience to high-severity wildfire, drought, climate change, and insect and disease outbreaks.

Multiple restoration efforts are already underway.

Lake Tahoe West partners are also moving through the environmental review process for a proposed project to restore even more of the west shore. The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Project aims to reduce wildfire risks to communities, improve forest health, protect and enhance habitat for native plants and animals, and protect Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity. Together, these actions will help restore the resilience of west shore forests, watersheds, and communities.

The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership is a collaborative, multiple-stakeholder effort led by the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California Tahoe Conservancy, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, California State Parks, Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team, and National Forest Foundation. Stakeholders and partners represent tribes, conservation groups, fire protection agencies, the recreation community, homeowners and businesses, scientists, local government, and others who care about Lake Tahoe’s west shore. For more information on the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, visit LakeTahoeWest.org.

Meeks Bay restoration workshop set for today

The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is currently developing a plan to restore Meeks Creek to a more natural condition, while continuing to support sustainable recreation opportunities.

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in conjunction with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, will host a virtual public workshop on the project from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this evening.

Meeks Bay’s development legacy dates back to 1960 when the marina of approximately 120 boat slips and a boat launch facility was dredged at the mouth of Meeks Creek, on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The marina eliminated unique wetland habitat for numerous bird, mammal, and amphibian species. The deteriorating condition of the existing marina infrastructure, along with concerns over water quality, aquatic invasive species, and degraded habitat for native species prompted the need for action in Meeks Bay.

“We’re excited to be moving forward with this high priority project,” said Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor, Matthew Jedra. “The site is just downstream from the Washoe Tribe’s restoration of Meeks Meadow. Combined, these projects will improve conditions for wildlife species and restore a critical section of the Meeks Creek Watershed.”

The proposed project aims to:

• Restore a functioning stream and lagoon ecosystem

• Control and eradicate aquatic invasive species

• Enhance fish and wildlife habitat

• Provide sustainable recreation opportunities and access

• Improve educational and interpretive opportunities

• Restore habitat for Tahoe yellow cress, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and species of value to the Washoe Tribe

“Meeks Bay is an iconic part of Lake Tahoe and connects the indigenous stewards of Lake Tahoe, the Washoe people, to a modern restoration opportunity,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta. “We are pleased to be part of the partnership to restore this incredible resource.”

The public workshop will introduce the project and planning process, describe the site’s history and the need for restoration, and introduce alternative themes and solicit input on alternative considerations.

Register for the public workshop under the Get Involved tab of the project website at http://www.meeksbayproject.org, or by following this zoom link.

In addition to public workshops, a representative stakeholder forum will explore concepts and evaluate ideas that will inform the planning process and ensure the environmental analysis includes the best information and science. The stakeholder forum includes community groups, property owner associations, and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, among others. The agencies expect to have draft alternatives ready for public input by summer of 2021.

Learn more about the project and public workshops at http://www.meeksbayproject.org.


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