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BMPs take center stage

South Shore residents planning yard improvements this summer can get help from the Backyard Conservation Program.

The program is sponsoring demonstrations of Best Management Practices as required by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Paving driveways, planting native vegetation, installing trenches and other improvements can help preserve the clarity of Lake Tahoe.

Resource conservation workers from both sides of the state line worked Tuesday at a house on Clement Street that will serve as a long-term monitoring site for BMP effectiveness.



Jennifer Heath, Backyard Conservation Program coordinator, said the goal of the demonstrations is to educate the public about BMP technology, installation resources and TRPA requirements.

Priority 1 watersheds, such as Incline Village and Crystal Bay, were supposed to have BMPs in place last October. Pam Drum, TRPA public affairs coordinator, said a lot of Incline Village BMPs were implemented as building permits were issued, but a lot of older properties in South Lake Tahoe still have to be retrofitted.



Priority 2 watersheds, which include most of South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City, have until 2006 to implement BMPs. However, free resources to install upgrades may not last that long.

The Backyard Conservation Program has secured nearly $450,000 for BMP retrofitting over the next three years.

The program offers homeowners free site evaluations, installation of infiltration systems and application of mulches to bare soil. Residents may purchase erosion control materials at cost from the program.

If people choose not to take advantage of the Conservation Program, they can hire contractors for BMP implementation. Heath said contractors could charge up to $2,000 for retrofits, compared to the couple of hundred dollars materials cost through the program.

Heath recommends beginning more expensive BMP projects soon, in order to spread costs over a few years and still make TRPA deadlines.


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