BMPs should be researched more, scientists say |

BMPs should be researched more, scientists say

Andy Bourelle

A panel of scientists studying the ecosystem at Lake Tahoe is recommending the effectiveness of BMPs – Best Management Practices that all property owners are asked to install on their land – be studied more in depth.

It’s a recommendation the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe’s bistate regulatory authority, agrees with wholeheartedly.

“Absolutely,” said Jim Baetge, executive director of TRPA. “Further research on their effectiveness is a definite need. We’ll be supporting that to the hilt.”

Numerous erosion-control and other water-quality improvement projects have been constructed in the basin over the past 15 years. BMPs are incorporated into new projects; however, there has historically been a lack of monitoring to judge how effective improvements are in controlling sediments running into Lake Tahoe.

The working draft of a recently released Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment urges more monitoring for the effectiveness of BMPs. Baetge agrees that has been a major weakness of the program, something TRPA hopes to soon address.

Additionally, the report says it shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of the implementing agencies – such as TRPA – to monitor the effectiveness of BMPs, another recommendation the regulatory agency agrees with.

BMPs are upgrades all property owners are urged to – and will eventually be required to – implement on their land. Those upgrades – paving driveways, planting native vegetation, installing rock trenches or any number of improvements – help treat stormwater runoff, which ultimately helps in preserving the clarity of Lake Tahoe.

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