Conservancy OKs $650K for Tahoe Pines project
California Tahoe Conservancy is moving forward with plans to restore the former Tahoe Pines Campground on U.S. 50 near Meyers.
Board members on Thursday authorized up to $650,000 to finish planning and pay for the project. The goal is to start work in summer 2015 and finish the job within a few months.
California Tahoe Conservancy bought the 8-acre property in 2007 for about $4.2 million. The site includes stretches of the Upper Truckee River and Echo Creek. It served as an automobile campground from 1932 to 2007.
The project will restore the property’s sensitive environment zones, rip-rapped riverbanks and floodplain areas; rebuild a parking lot for better drainage and handicap accessibility; replace a failing bridge for service and emergency response vehicles; and install picnic tables, benches and a new path from the parking area to the Upper Truckee River for river-oriented recreation access.
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Board members also approved an agreement for South Tahoe Public Utility District to work in Upper Truckee Marsh. Heavy spring runoff in 2011 filled a section of Trout Creek with sediment, causing the creek to spill over a floodplain surface without a well defined channel. The flooding, which covers about 300 feet of meadow, threatens two buried sewer lines.
South Tahoe PUD will build one or more small pilot channels to direct stream flows back toward the center of the marsh and away from its sewer lines, which run in an easement along the east side of the conservancy property.
The utility district will use hand crews for most of the project, but some heavy equipment will be needed. It will restore disturbed areas and monitor and manage the area for up to seven years. Work is expected to start later this summer and be completed by this fall, according to a staff report.
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Several Al Tahoe neighborhood residents expressed concern to the conservancy board about the Upper Truckee River and Marsh Restoration project undergoing review. A final preferred alternative for the project is set to be released in September.
The residents said they are concerned about the potential for increased recreation infrastructure and opportunities in the 592-acre marsh, and the impact those opportunities could have on wildlife, habitat and quality of life for neighborhood residents, with increased traffic, litter, noise and trespassing.
“We’re concerned about it and formed an organization. We have a website and will present you with a petition,” Gene Rasmussen, a resident of Al Tahoe neighborhood, told the conservancy board. “We are very concerned and you will become aware of that.”
The group wants no recreation infrastructure to be built on the east side of the marsh. Their website is http://www.saveuppertruckeemarsh.com.
Patrick Wright, director of California Tahoe Conservancy, said the agency is aware of the concerns about what would be one of the most significant restoration projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin in two decades.
“Staff are acutely aware that the most significant impact is what is an appropriate level of public access, particularly on the east side. We are very much aware of these comments and hopefully what you see in September will be a reflection of them,” Wright told the board.
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In other business Thursday, conservancy board members authorized a series of appropriations for fiscal year 2014-15: Up to $445,000 for project planning, review and development work; up to $889,000 for direct property management and restoration activities; and up to $1.18 million for forest improvement and hazard tree abatement.
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