Edgewood Creek and tributaries to be focus of study | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Edgewood Creek and tributaries to be focus of study

Environmental experts are studying land around Edgewood Creek to determine how to keep sediment out of the creek and restore its natural filtering systems.

Edgewood, which empties into Lake Tahoe, endured years of various types of development and is one of the larger sources of sediment pollution on the Nevada side of the lake, said Charlie Donohue, water quality program manager at the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team, a branch of Nevada Division of State Lands.

Eight types of environmental engineers are analyzing data collected this summer to create a ranked list of needed restoration projects.

The study, called a watershed assessment, will cost $196,000. The watershed is comprised of land owned by Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Heavenly Ski Resort, federal and state governments and individuals.

The Environmental Improvement Program, an initiative that began in 1997 to protect the clarity of Tahoe, recommended that as much as $8 million would be needed to restore damaged land that drains into the creek.

“I haven’t been able to find out where that number came from,” Donohue said. “Stream restoration projects tend to be rather expensive. It really depends how many projects are identified.”

Landowners within the Edgewood watershed have allowed environmental engineers access to their property and been supportive of the project, Donohue said. They have also made their own efforts to protect the creek.

Starting in the late 1980s, erosion controls were installed on steeply sloped streets of Kingsbury Grade. The Kingsbury General Improvement District has spent $11.5 million, mostly in grant money, since then with all erosion controls expected to be installed by the end of next summer.

Edgewood Tahoe has also worked to improve the creek during the last 10 years. One project restored a large section of Edgewood Creek, about 1,500 linear feet, along its first and second holes.

“We’ve done stream environment zone restoration pretty much from Lake Tahoe almost to Highway 50,” said Steve Seibel, golf course superintendent for 24 years. “We’ve added about 2 acres of wetland out there.”

Heavenly has done its part, too. In the 1990s, the resort, which includes Edgewood Creek watershed and six others, installed erosion controls along runs and lifts that shoulder Edgewood.

Every five years, its runs are reseeded to stabilized slopes and prevent erosion, said Andrew Strain, director of planning and governmental affairs at the resort. Heavenly is also in the design phase for a stormwater runoff treatment system at the Boulder Lodge parking lot. The resort expects to install the system next year.

“I think it’s a great project,” said Strain, of the Edgewood Creek assessment. “We realize we have an important responsibility.”

The Nevada Tahoe Resource Team has tentatively scheduled a second public meeting on the watershed assessment for Feb. 20 at the Kahle Community Center. A preliminary list of projects needed to restore the creek is expected to be presented at the meeting.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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