Lake Tahoe to get $29 million for environment, infrastructure

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Yesterday, a federal bill was signed into law that delivers additional critical investments to improve Tahoe’s environment, protect its delicate ecology, and support its community.

With concerted support from Tahoe’s federal delegation, Tahoe will receive $23.8 million through the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, plus $3.4 million from the previously approved bipartisan infrastructure law, and $2 million in community project funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation in fiscal year 2022.

“Tahoe doesn’t belong to just Nevada and California; it’s a national treasure,” said Darcie Goodman Collins, CEO of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known as Keep Tahoe Blue. “We’re encouraged that decision-makers in Washington D.C. have taken this bipartisan action to protect, preserve and Keep Tahoe Blue, especially in the face of climate change and extreme wildfire.”

Together, the approved funding supports a range of Tahoe priorities, including wildfire preparedness, a need tragically highlighted when the Caldor Fire scorched 10,000 acres inside the Tahoe Basin in the summer of 2021. The appropriations include:

— $7,000,000 for water infrastructure that supports fire suppression

— $6,500,000 for watershed management

— $6,000,000 for forest health

— $7,700,000 for aquatic invasive species control and prevention

— $2,000,000 for infrastructure improvements in the highly visited SR-28 corridor

The latest funding provided through the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act represents a 148% increase compared to the previous fiscal year, underscoring Tahoe’s importance on the national stage and the many pressures it faces.

“The Tahoe region and our lake are under serious threat from the compounding impacts of climate change and increasing recreational pressures,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Joanne Marchetta. “This record level of funding through the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act will benefit our forests, meadows, water infrastructure, transportation, and the world-famous clarity of the lake. We are grateful to Tahoe’s congressional leaders and our partners in advocacy for continuing the shared investment in Tahoe’s future.”

For more than 20 years, the Lake Tahoe Restoration Acts have been a critical channel of support for the Basin’s environmental health, and a source of local jobs and economic activity. In 2021, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the authorization of the 2016 Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which will keep the pipeline open for hundreds of millions of dollars to finish crucial environmental work left undone, and to make Tahoe resilient in the face of climate change.

The Lake Tahoe Partnership, an advocacy group coordinated by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Chamber, along with numerous partners, will continue working with Tahoe’s federal representatives to extend authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in 2022.

“As the Tahoe Basin’s largest landowner, these federal investments are an appropriate and a much-appreciated contribution along with state, local and private sector investments in the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program,” said Steve Teshara, director of government relations for Tahoe Chamber. “The multi-sector funding for EIP creates jobs and stimulates entrepreneurial innovations in science, forest and land management, and water quality protection.”

Source: The League to Save Lake Tahoe

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