Cascade erosion project under way |

Cascade erosion project under way

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A $1.9 million erosion control project on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe is under way and expected to be finished by mid-September.

The work is being done at Cascade Properties, a secluded development off Highway 89 that’s one of the last places near the shores of Lake Tahoe to still have dirt roads.

The project will create seven basins to retain sediment, provide a curb-and-gutter water treatment system and allow paving of the roads. It took more than five years to organize the work, mainly because it involves a partnership between private and public groups.

“The landowners were very cooperative here in offering easements over their land,” said Dennis Machita, executive director at the California Tahoe Conservancy, an agency that provided more than $1 million in funding. “A lot of projects require a public-private partnership. Without it we don’t have a chance for success.”

Thomas Haen, a South Lake Tahoe contractor doing the work, already has two sediment basins in place.

“It’s tight quarters,” Haen said. “It’s a fight, but it’s a fight that’s going well. I think all the agencies realize we’re working on a rock pile.”

Limited space also created a challenge for engineers, said Donald House, who owns a vacation home at Cascade.

“They had to figure out how to accomplish everything — parking with it being so narrow and having a horse trail alongside it,” House said.

The Cascade Mutual Water Company, a homeowner’s association formed to enable the project, has $300,000 in the bank to pay for the paving of the 6,000 feet of dirt road. The paving is expected to begin after the erosion controls are installed.

Dave Solaro, El Dorado County supervisor who represents South Shore, spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. He said much of the credit for project goes to John Upton, his predecessor.

Juan Palma, executive director at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, also said a few words.

“Yes, it is a lot of money, but the money will translate to a tangible project with an end result that will make the lake a little bit clearer,” Palma said. “We have strong support from all sectors of society. Something resonates in Tahoe; it’s a beautiful lake we all feel strongly about. Hopefully we can leave it a little bit better than we found it.”

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