EPA approves land coverage plan for Lake Tahoe Basin | TahoeDailyTribune.com
Adam Jensen

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EPA approves land coverage plan for Lake Tahoe Basin

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a key component of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's Regional Plan Update that could allow for additional land coverage on some properties in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The Clean Water Act Section 208 Lake Tahoe Water Quality Management Plan, known as the 208 Plan, took effect Wednesday following approval by the EPA, according to a statement from the federal agency and TRPA. The plan regulates land coverage in the basin.

The 208 Plan was last updated in 1988 and approval of the update may allow for the expansion of some properties on high-capacity soils with the proper permitting and documentation, according to the agencies. Information is available from building departments and TRPA.

Basin land coverage rules have been used in the region to help maintain open space and allow soil to catch stormwater runoff before it reaches Lake Tahoe, but have also drawn the ire of some home and business owners because of their limits on expansion.

"Restoring Lake Tahoe is a commitment shared by everyone in the watershed and the approval by the EPA removes regulatory barriers to some of the environmental redevelopment needed to move the dial on lake clarity," TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta said in the statement. "The new rules are both better for the environment and will help our struggling communities reinvent themselves. The basis of the Regional Plan is protecting the centerpiece of our ecosystem while revitalizing our communities."

Certification of the 208 Plan by Nevada and California and approval by the U.S. EPA allows the TRPA to begin implementing land use policies in the agency's recently updated Regional Plan. The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore have challenged the plan in court and have asked for an injunction to prevent implementation of the plan. A judge has yet to rule on the injunction request.