Jan 22 2016
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. It will now be sent to the full Senate.
Feinstein released the following statement:
“Tahoe, the Jewel of the Sierras, is an awe-inspiring natural wonder, so this is an important step to ensure it stays that way for generations to come. This bill will continue vital restoration projects and protect the surrounding communities from catastrophic fire.
“The impressive public-private partnership in Tahoe has made great gains over the years, but more work remains to restore Tahoe’s greatness. We must maintain the momentum and get this bill signed into law.
“Since President Clinton held a Presidential Forum at Lake Tahoe in 1997, we have been successful in passing one bill, which has made a big difference, from improving the clarity of the lake to restoring habitat. And this second bill is essentially a follow-up to that.”
The legislation was introduced in July by Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Feinstein.
The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act directs $415 million to be spent in the Tahoe Basin over the next 10 years towards:
- Wildfire Prevention – Provides $150 million for fire risk reduction and forest management. These dollars go toward fuel reduction projects in high-risk areas like South Shore, Carnelian Bay, Incline, and West shore stewardship contracts to restore forest health and wildlife habitat, and municipal water infrastructure to support improved flows for firefighting.
- The Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) – Provides $80 million to jumpstart projects spanning from new bike trails to creek restoration and fire treatment. Some previous EIP projects that have benefited the region include the Heavenly Gondola and Village, the Angora Fire rehabilitation, Lake View Commons, the Sand Harbor Visitor Center, and the Incline Creek Restoration.
- The Invasive Species Management Program – Provides $45 million to prevent the introduction of the quagga mussel and manage other harmful invasive species like the Asian clam. This includes lake-wide aquatic invasive species control and a watercraft inspection program.
- Stormwater Projects – Sets aside $113 million to implement storm water management, erosion control, and watershed restoration projects. Storm water runoff from roads and the urban areas in the basin, vehicle exhaust, altered wetlands and streams, and inadequate storm water pollution control have significantly impacted Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity.
- The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program – Allocates $20 million to recover the Lahontan cutthroat trout – a federally threatened species and Nevada’s state fish.
- Increases Accountability and Oversight – Provides $5 million to ensure projects will have monitoring and assessment in order to determine the most cost-effective projects and ensure dollars are properly utilized.
- Overall Management Improvement – Sets aside $2 million to cover the cost of land exchanges and sales on both the California and Nevada sides of the Tahoe Basin that will improve efficiencies of public land management.