California Tahoe Conservancy to receive $27 million in funding from Prop 68 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

California Tahoe Conservancy to receive $27 million in funding from Prop 68

Maggie Mayer
mmayer@tahoedailytribune.com

An aerial view of the Upper Truckee River marsh lands near Tahoe Keys (left).

In the recent primary election, 57 percent of California voters said "yes" to Prop 68, the Parks, Environment and Water Bond, securing $4 billion in general obligation bonds for California's parks, natural resources and restoration projects.

The funding includes up to $27 million for the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC), which spearheads conservation and restoration projects in the Tahoe Basin.

"We're highlighting our commitment to the regional plan, climate change and community outreach," CTC Executive Director Patrick Wright told the Tribune.

The CTC's funding, which will start being distributed in July 2019, is attached to a number of requirements, which the agency will have to accommodate for in its strategic plan. Wright said the newest plan was crafted under the assumption that Prop 68 would pass, so it will not change dramatically.

The strategic plan is reworked every several years to address the programs and projects the CTC seeks to pursue. The 2012-17 plan focused on the CTC's role in California's Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) and securing long-term funding for the Tahoe Basin.

According to a June 21 agenda update from the CTC, one of the mandates of Prop 68 is that at least 20 percent of the funds go toward projects that will serve communities with median household incomes less than 60 percent of the statewide average. In California, this threshold is about $40,000.

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Wright said Kings Beach and South Lake Tahoe fall under this category and the CTC plans to pursue outreach projects in these areas.

The specifics of these initiatives are yet to be determined.

"What we're going to be doing is partnering with those areas to find which projects would make sense," Wright said.

In addition to serving local communities, large portions of the bond will go toward restoring the Upper Truckee River. The CTC also is part of the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, a restoration initiative involving the U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), California State Parks, Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team and the National Forest Foundation.

The planning area extends from Emerald Bay to Squaw Valley and includes about 60,000 acres.

The CTC also could receive a portion of the $25 million allocated to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC), the largest of California's 10 conservancies. This is because the CTC plans to work on partnered projects with the SNC, which covers a 22-county region including El Dorado and Placer counties.

Wright said there is no foreseeable reason why the CTC wouldn't be able to receive the funding in full, assuming the agency follows the bond requirements. Other requirements emphasize the importance of collaborating with state, non-profit, private and tribal partners as well as prioritizing youth engagement efforts.

The CTC isn't the only Tahoe agency that benefits from the bond. Prop 68 also secures funding for state parks, among other government agencies, which could then kick-start other environmental projects in the basin.