Forest Service wraps up restoration work at Incline Meadow for winter

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. –Restoration work at Incline Meadow has concluded for the 2023 season. USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) crews have winterized the project area and work is scheduled to resume next summer. The final phase of the meadow restoration work planned for 2024 includes backfilling the large channel that formed in the meadow after the man-made lake was drained and removing piles and berms to promote water connectivity throughout the meadow.

Restoration of the former Incline Lake area began in 2020, with removal of the high-hazard earthen dams, construction of a floodplain and channel in the location of the former dam, backfilling the Third Creek diversion ditch in 2021, and construction of a boardwalk trail across the floodplain in 2022. Work this year included restoring disturbed upland areas, backfilling and decommissioning the remainder of the diversion ditch that previously fed water to the lake, and removal of piles and berms in the meadow that were preventing water from flowing over the banks.

New Floodplain at Incline Meadow.
Provided / Theresa Cody

In addition, LTBMU botany crews hand collected native seeds from local high elevation sources around Lake Tahoe to support stabilization and revegetation of three acres of upland and floodplain areas around Incline Meadow. Crews prepared the slopes for revegetation by loosening soils and installing erosion control measures. Crews then distributed 50 pounds of native wildflower, grass, and shrub seeds they collected to promote long-term soil stabilization, enhance wildlife habitat quality, and prevent establishment of non-native invasive plants. Seeded areas were then hydromulched (hydromulching involves spraying a mix of water, seed, and fertilizer held together with a binding agent on depleted soil to encourage efficient revegetation) to provide short term soil cover over winter to support seed germination and seed survival next spring.

New Boardwalk at Incline Meadow.
Provided / Theresa Cody

The overall objectives at Incline Meadow include raising groundwater levels to increase the amount of surface water in the meadow, restoring native meadow vegetation in disturbed areas, reducing headcuts (localized points of erosion found within stream or river channels), increasing channel and floodplain connectivity, preventing man-made ditches from continuing to drain groundwater and cause erosion, and returning disturbed upland areas to a natural condition.

For questions about the project, please contact Theresa Cody at

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