Nevada senator introduces legislation to reauthorize Lake Tahoe Restoration Act

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend the authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act which is strongly supported by environmental agencies in the basin.

The act, which has served as the cornerstone for federal funding since the original law passed in 2000, helped deliver millions in federal funding for environmental protection and habitat restoration programs.

The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was originally signed into law in November of 2000. It authorized $300 million for the restoration of Lake Tahoe, and after a lapse between 2010 and 2016, was reauthorized in 2016. This law is currently expected to expire in 2024, and ensuring there is no gap in authorization or appropriation is a top priority for both Nevada and California.

This bill will allow for uninterrupted conservation and restoration planning for the Lake across six project categories, including environmental protection, fire risk reduction, invasive species management, stormwater and erosion control, endangered species recovery, and project oversight reauthorization, and will ensure that regional managing agencies have the capability to plan for long-term restoration projects through 2034.

This legislation is supported by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, and the Tahoe Chamber of Commerce.

“The threatened scenic, ecological, and recreational richness of Lake Tahoe is of enormous importance to our communities, the states of Nevada and California, and the nation,” said Joanne Marchetta, executive director of TRPA. “We applaud the bi-partisan and bi-state support for this legislation that will allow the continued restoration of a national treasure.”

“The League to Save Lake Tahoe is a strong supporter of this proposed legislation,” said League CEO Dr. Darcie Goodman. “It is a critical pathway to extend and expand the positive impacts that the Lake Tahoe Restoration Acts of 2000 and 2016 have delivered to Tahoe’s environment and community. Today, we took a step toward another major milestone for Lake Tahoe and millions of Nevadans and Californians who have a deep connection to this special place.

“For more than six decades, the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s mission has been to preserve one of our nation’s most awe-inspiring natural treasures,” she continued. “The passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Acts of 2000 and 2016 were milestone victories for Lake preservation. The reauthorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in 2021 will allow us to finish crucial environmental work left undone, and to Keep Tahoe Blue for generations to come.”

This legislation is also supported by senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Mark Amodei (R-Nev.-02), John Garamendi (D-Calif.-03), Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01), Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03), and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04.).

“Lake Tahoe is a treasure that provides a beautiful refuge for Nevadans to enjoy while boosting our state’s tourism economy,” said Senator Cortez Masto in a press release. “This legislation has helped fund numerous restoration and conservation projects while supporting local jobs. I’ll keep working across the aisle to make sure we can deliver this funding to the region and help local governments, non-profits, and engaged businesses around the lake to preserve and protect Tahoe for generations to come.”

According to her office, Senator Cortez Masto is a longtime champion for Lake Tahoe, leading efforts in the Senate to conserve the region and protect the Lake. She has called for a comprehensive, collaborative, and science-based approach to protect Lake Tahoe and other water resources in Nevada from the threat of climate change and invasive species and has secured authorization to create an Invasive Species in Alpine Lakes Pilot Program to eradicate dangerous aquatic invasive species and protect lakes like Lake Tahoe.

Cortez Masto has also secured nearly $100,000 in federal funding to address microplastic pollution in Lake Tahoe, as well as a new pollution-reducing shuttle service from Reno to Lake Tahoe.

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