Research Renaissance | SierraSun.com

Research Renaissance

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/ Sierra SunBrant Allen, field lab director for the UC Davis Enviromental Research Center, walks through the fish hatchery in Tahoe City. The historic building will be renovated starting in June.
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Tahoe City’s historic fish hatchery will soon get a $3 million facelift.

The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center will begin to renovate the 1920s’ Lake Forest hatchery in June as the California component of the university’s

North Lake Tahoe research and education programs.

“We’ll have our indoor education facility in Incline and then our outdoor education facility in Tahoe City,” said UC Davis’ education and outreach coordinator Heather Segale.

The $3-million restoration will include two labs, office space and an entrance that will serve as an interpretive center. The project is intended to keep the look and feel of the historical facility, said Segale.

Private donors contributed half of the $3 million in funding that the university then matched.

Additionally, the environmental center was recently awarded nearly $2 million by the state to restore the site, including the creation of a demonstration garden, interpretive signs and a walkway.

“We’ve been wanting to create a community interpretive center where people can come and learn about native plants, best management practices, native fish, and especially the importance of wetlands,” Segale said.

Money from Proposition 40, a 2002 California clean water bond, will fund a $900,000 urban stormwater project to manage runoff from the property and from Highway 28. Additional test plots and demonstration sites will be incorporated for UC Davis scientists to research the efficiency of best management practices.

A grant from another statewide water-quality bond, Proposition 50, for more than $800,000 will help restore the pond and creek located near the hatchery and help pay for a program called Trout in the Classroom.

“We would like to see if we can get a Lahontan cutthroat population,” Segale said. “It may not be possible but it’s sure worth a try.”

The university plans to partner with the Desert Research Institute, Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships and United States Fish and Wildlife Service on restoration and education programs in the Lake Forest area.

The university is also working in parallel with other local restoration projects, including work by California Tahoe Conservancy on Lake Forest Creek and California State Parks with Burton Creek State Park.

“In general we do work together for a common goal. In this case it would be to rehabilitate that watercourse ” the river that comes through there and the lakeshore ” to bring it back to its original natural habitats,” said California State Parks district landscape architect Don Michaely.