Land swap nets $4.6 million for Tahoe |

Land swap nets $4.6 million for Tahoe

The U.S. Forest Service is getting an additional $4.6 million to purchase environmentally sensitive land in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Announced by Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., Tuesday, the money is a result of land sales under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act legislation which Bryan authorized during the last session of Congress.

“This is wonderful news for Lake Tahoe,” Bryan said. “In an effort to preserve and protect the lake this additional money will help meet the needs of the federal government’s goals in Lake Tahoe.”

The funds will be used to enhance the Santini-Burton program, which for the last 20 years has enabled the Forest Service to acquire lands in the basin in order to prevent further degradation of Lake Tahoe.

With the passage of the act, the Clark County Department of Aviation received nearly 5,200 acres of BLM land surrounding McCarran Airport in Las Vegas to expand its noise buffer zone.

As the airport sells the land for development, it is required to return 85 percent of the proceeds from these land sales to the federal government. The proceeds are then transferred to the U.S. Forest Service to purchase environmentally sensitive land in Lake Tahoe in accordance with the Santini-Burton program.

“It’s unique in that all the money derived from the sales stays in the state,” Bryan said. “There could be as much as $50 million available to Lake Tahoe over the years from the sale of those properties.

“As Mark Twain remarked more than a century ago, in referring to Lake Tahoe, ‘I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole Earth affords.’ This money will assist us in our efforts to restore the lake’s clarity so future generations can enjoy this jewel of the high Sierra.”

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