Burke Creek project aims to reduce flooding, restore meadow along Highway 50 in Stateline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Burke Creek project aims to reduce flooding, restore meadow along Highway 50 in Stateline

Griffin Rogers
This map shows an overview of the proposed work in the Burke Creek Highway 50 Crossing and Realignment Project.
Courtesy of the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District |

STATELINE, Nev. — A project to reduce flooding along a section of Highway 50 in Stateline, Nev., and restore a drying meadow north of the casino corridor is on schedule to break ground later next year.

The Burke Creek Highway 50 Crossing and Realignment Project proposes to realign Burke Creek just north of Kahle Drive so it can help re-water Rabe Meadow on the opposite side of the highway and improve the stream’s function in general.

Reducing the amount of flooding along the highway is just one aspect of the project that’s expected to be improved. Enhancements to water quality, public safety, stream flow and riparian habitat are also planned.

“It’s like an onion,” said Steve Teshara, principal of Sustainable Community Advocates. “There are lots of peels and layers to this, but it is exciting.”

The proposed project includes the installation of new drains and culverts along an approximately quarter-mile stretch of Highway 50 to reduce street flooding — near areas like the Lake Village Professional Building — and treat stormwater runoff that currently runs untreated to Burke Creek and Folsom Spring.

With the upgrades, the amount of fine sediment, phosphorous and nitrogen entering Lake Tahoe in the area could be significantly reduced.

The project will be designed and implemented in two phases. The first will focus on efforts above Highway 50, or to the east portion of the project area, and the second will center on the portion below the highway, or to the west.

Phase one, expected to begin in fall 2016, will involve the installation of a crossing under Highway 50 near Sushi Pier, along with the removal of a portion of parking lot in front of Agave Azul Mexican Grill.

Burke Creek will be realigned in the area of the removed parking lot.

Phase two, on the other hand, will realign the creek on the other side of Highway 50 on U.S. Forest Service land. The Forest Service will spearhead efforts during that stage, which is slated to begin in fall 2017.

The Nevada Tahoe Conservation District is partnering with several agencies to complete the project, including the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada Division of State Lands and Douglas County.

NTCD Environmental Scientist Michael Pook spoke about the project at a public meeting Tuesday.

“There’s an opportunity for the stream to reconnect to the floodplain and deposit some sediment and slowly build that up over time,” he said. “It’ll take awhile, but it will happen.”

According to NTCD, the project is funded through numerous grants and contributions from the Forest Service, NDOT, NDSL and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

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