A nonprofit corporation is searching for new environmental projects to support this year that aim to improve outdoor recreation, boost lake clarity and raise awareness of stewardship in the Tahoe Basin.
Tahoe Fund plans on helping four or five projects around the lake this year through private donations gathered from the community.
The board will announce the projects at the end of April. But in the past, the organization has provided monetary support to bike trail developments, invasive species control, creek restoration projects and more.
“I think we’d like to build on the success we’ve had the last couple years,” Chief Executive Officer Amy Berry said of this year’s goals.
One thing Tahoe Fund would like to keep building on is efforts toward an around-the-lake bike trail, Berry said. In past years, the corporation has helped fund sections of bike trails at South Shore, West Shore and Tahoe City.
The idea is to get people out of their cars and using other means of transportation, she added.
“”Bike trail’ is such a misnomer,” Berry said. “It can be used for so much more.”
When looking for projects, Tahoe Fund tries to find things that the community can get excited about, she said. It typically looks for something tangible.
“Erosion control might be hard to raise money for…” Berry said. “So we look for things that people can see and feel.”
Once the projects are chosen, money is raised during the summer through a variety of fundraisers, which have become increasingly successful as more people hear about Tahoe Fund, she said.
The organization — now in its fourth year — raised $55,000 in 2012 and $130,000 in 2013.
Berry said the group is just getting started and hopes to raise more money in the future.
“We are just in the stage of trying to raise awareness for the Fund and meet new people in Tahoe,” she said.
Last year, the organization raised about $38,000 for a project that sought to reduce the Asian clam population in Emerald Bay.
The task, led by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, involved smothering clams on about 5 acres at the bottom of the lake. However, researchers needed money to finish another half-acre. That’s where the Tahoe Fund stepped in.
TRPA spokesman Jeff Cowen said the Tahoe Fund’s efforts have been extremely important in a time when gathering money for environmental projects is not always easy.
“They have quickly become a real great partner in the effort to restore Lake Tahoe,” Cowen said, adding that the nonprofit closed funding gaps in many critical projects.
The deadline to submit ideas for a Tahoe Fund 2014 Signature Project is March 3. For more information on project requirements, go to www.tahoefund.org.