Erosion control update |

Erosion control update

About 19,000 of nearly 60,000 targeted pieces of land carry improvements that environmental planners are working to get on the ground throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The improvements are erosion controls, or as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency refers to them, Best Management Practices.

The TRPA introduced the idea of environmental improvements in 1992 to help filter sediment and nutrients from water before it runs through the basin and into Lake Tahoe. Research has shown the clarity of the lake disappearing at the rate of more than a foot each year in part because of such runoff.

Another 3,000 parcels of land have been evaluated by TRPA staff and are in the process of completing required environment improvements. The improvements could mean paving a dirt driveway, planting vegetation to stabilize soil or digging a gravel trench around the dripline of a roof.

In July, the agency adopted a policy that requires a property seller to disclose any needed environmental work to a buyer before the property is sold. And earlier in the year, the TRPA gained the right to penalize property owners who fail to make the improvements. The agency can issue fines up to $3,500 or file a civil lawsuit against the owner.

Deadlines to complete the improvements vary around the basin. Land with steep slopes or streams are classified as Priority One watersheds, much of which is at Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Priority One lot owners were required to make the improvements by October 2000.

Most of South Shore is classified as Priority Two and has a deadline of Oct. 12, 2006. The deadline for Priority Three watershed is October 2011.

The California Attorney General’s Office has requested that the deadlines be moved up, but so far they have not changed.

To determine what improvements a property needs, call Brendan Ferry of the TRPA Erosion Control Team for a free site evaluation. Ferry can be reached at (775) 588-4547, ext. 205. The team also offers free engineering and discounted material and labor to help get improvements on the ground.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

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