Backyard conservation grant more than doubled |

Backyard conservation grant more than doubled

Andy Bourelle

With an $8,000 grant last year, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District was able to create the leading backyard conservation program in the country. Officials are excited about what they’ll be able to do with the $17, 450 grant they received this year.

“We’re really excited,” Doug Witt, administrative assistant of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, said Tuesday after hearing the news of receiving the grant. “Now we’re going to start implementing Phase 2.”

Only $120,000 in grants was available from the California Department of Conservation, and 103 districts applied for money.

“We asked for $20,000, but we’re happy with $17,450,” Witt said. “We’re really honored to receive the money with that many agencies applying.”

The Backyard Conservation Program at Lake Tahoe – something stemming from the 1997 Presidential Summit at Lake Tahoe – started in the spring of 1998.

Through backyard conservation, residents can minimize erosion on their property, learn how to incorporate defensible space into their landscaping, better understand the best way to irrigate their plants, learn how to make their yards more inviting to wildlife and more.

Lake Tahoe’s clarity benefits when residents conserve water, feed their plants without harming the lake, improve habitat for wildlife and keep soil from eroding.

The 1998 phase included having conservation officials visit residents’ homes to educate them. “Block parties,” where officials could reach numerous residents at once, also were held. More than 300 basin residents received information through the program.

Phase 2 of the program is going to focus on water conservation.

In requesting the money, the district stated: “Water conservation education will be an absolute vital activity at Lake Tahoe this coming year due to the impending water restrictions (resulting from MTBE contaminated sources on South Shore) … Contaminated water cannot be used for domestic consumption, irrigation or for immediate attack on forest fire. The district will be developing materials to help address this problem.”

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