Pathway 2007 on the right track at summit | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pathway 2007 on the right track at summit

Andrew Pridgen

Keith Sheffield/Tribune News Service/ U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Sunday touts the success of government plans to bring money to the Lake Tahoe Basin at the Tahoe Summit at Tahoe City's Commons Beach.

TAHOE CITY – Sen. Dianne Feinstein summed up her opinion on Pathway 2007 with a kind of off-the-cuff praise not often heard from behind the dais.

“(Pathway 2007) is consequential – real things are being done,” Feinstein said Sunday at the Lake Tahoe Summit. “In my life you hear a lot of jargon and a lot of acronyms especially in Washington. You have to cut through it to see if there’s a there there. With the case of Pathway 2007, There is a there there.”

Pathway 2007 is a four-agency cooperative to plan virtually every aspect of the basin’s growth for the next two decades and beyond.

While a four-person panel representing each of the Pathway 2007 agencies nodded behind her, the work of the groups summarized by the individuals just moments before Feinstein’s remarks is mostly yet to come.

Perhaps Feinstein took a cue from the agency representatives who spoke before her. John Singlaub, executive director of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, summarized the work his agency’s completed on Pathway 2007 in a similarly unrehearsed manner at one point calling it “not business as usual.”

“The partners have embarked on an unparalleled level of public outreach – to continue (doing) things that are working and to fix things that aren’t,” he said.

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Singlaub noted the most tractable changes the public will see in his agency’s contribution to Pathway 2007 are reflected by the state of development around the basin over the next 20 years as compared to 20 years ago.

“(Back then) we focused on development,” Singlaub said. “Now we focus on redevelopment and fixing what we’ve got.”

Singlaub also noted his agency’s involvement in helping keep the lake compliant with total daily maximum load, an EPA-established way of tracking pollutants in bodies of water. The EPA defines the measure as the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that amount to the pollutant’s sources.

The TMDL standards are set by states, territories and tribes. The calculation also includes a margin of safety so the body of water can be used for purposes designated by the state. Lake Tahoe is currently on the “impaired” list according to the EPA’s Web site – among the impairments are phosphorus and nitrogen and sediment/siltation.

Singlaub noted his agency’s environmental improvement program, which was created at the first environmental summit in 1997 to encompass more than 700 capital improvement, research, program support and operation and maintenance projects in the basin will help all facets of improving the lake’s clarity and health.

Representatives from the other principal agencies included Jennifer Merchant from Placer County; Irene Davidson from the U.S. Forest Service; and Leo Drozdoff from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

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