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Lake and forest top resident concerns

Patrick McCartney

Tahoe Basin residents place lake clarity and forest health at the top of their list of concerns, according to a survey compiled by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Their views will be forwarded to federal officials working to implement the goals hammered out at this summer’s Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum.

Slightly more than 1,000 residents returned the survey cards that Boxer mailed to 26,000 households. Those receiving the survey were asked to rank their top three concerns from a list of 10 issues that emphasized environmental subjects, but included jobs as a category as well.

More than 70 percent of the respondents identified lake clarity or forest health as their greatest concern, with 36.2 percent naming the clarity of Lake Tahoe and 21.6 percent identifying forest health as the most important issue.

No other issue was named by more than 10 percent of those surveyed, with transportation and air quality coming in fourth and fifth. Jobs was identified by 59 residents, or 5.8 percent, as their top concern.

Lake clarity and forest health were also ranked as the respondents’ second and third highest priorities, although air quality finished right behind.

Pam Drum, a spokeswoman for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said the results come as no surprise, although the agency has done no opinion sampling of its own.

“Certainly, lake clarity and forest health are the most frequent topic of conversation,” Drum said. “Lake Tahoe’s blue color is the feature that makes this region unique, and forest health has become important because the presence of dead and dying trees is so visible.”

Boxer said she would relay the results of the survey to Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, who will convene an executive council group to organize federal efforts in the Tahoe Basin.

“I will work closely with Secretary Glickman to put the president’s 25-point plan in motion, and am prepared to support any related legislation required for implementation,” Boxer said.


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