Benefits of Bijou project touted at ribbon-cutting |

Benefits of Bijou project touted at ribbon-cutting

Griffin Rogers
South Lake Tahoe Mayor Pro Tem Brooke Laine talks about the Bijou Area Erosion Control Project at Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Several environmental agencies joined the City of South Lake Tahoe on Thursday in celebrating the end of a long-awaited project aimed at improving the quality of water entering Lake Tahoe at a critical site.

The Bijou Area Erosion Control Project involved the replacement of the failing 50-year-old Bijou Creek storm drain system from the outlet of Bijou Meadow, under Fairway Drive and Hwy 50, through the Bijou commercial core and out to Lake Tahoe, according to a city notice.

“This updated infrastructure will convey Bijou Creek to Lake Tahoe while separately treating stormwater runoff from 42 acres within the Bijou Commercial area, preventing 21,000 pounds of fine sediment particles from reaching Lake Tahoe each year,” the city explained in the release.

After being in development for about 10 years, the approximately $18 million erosion control project received a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

During the event, members from agencies that contributed to the project said a few words about the importance of the undertaking and the obstacles overcome to finish it.

Joanne Marchetta, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, was among them.

“This is the largest pollutant loading tributary into Lake Tahoe,” she said. “So we’re reducing over 20,000 pounds a year of sediment. We’re reducing nutrients — phosphorous and nitrogen — by almost 96 percent here. So this is going to start to address some of the algae problems that we’ve seen. So we’re addressing the environment at all different kinds of levels.”

Other agencies involved with the project’s funding and progression include the U.S. Forest Service, Caltrans, the State Water Resources Control Board, California Tahoe Conservancy and South Tahoe Public Utility District.

City employee and Project Manager Trevor Coolidge said the project required immense amounts of collaboration and hard work.

“If you remember last year, last week a year ago, we were working 24 hours a day in this area, just striving to get it done.” He said at the ceremony. “So it’s a major effort.”

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