Tahoe is a priority in California, Nevada and Washington D.C. (Opinion)
Lists can be very useful. They’re simple. They get to the point.
An all-too-familiar way to recount the past 18 months is by listing off the terrible, unthinkable things our society and community have been through: a pandemic, economic hardship, social unrest, historic wildfires, and environmental damage – even here in our beloved Tahoe Basin.
On the eve of the 25th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, and with an optimistic eye, we’re suggesting a different way to read that list. The bullet points of doom and gloom provide stark contrast – like bright letters on a dark background – for how much Lake Tahoe means to so many people, especially recently. It’s a refuge, a source of energy and a place to find peace. It’s our home, our playground and an economic lifeline. Tahoe also reminds us to appreciate all we have, and that we must work together to protect it.
Tahoe provides so much for each of us, so we need to provide for it. We’re pleased to share that just last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that includes more than $25 million in funding for Tahoe under the 2016 Lake Tahoe Restoration Act – an increase of nearly $10 million over last year’s allocation. The much-needed dollars will support environmental restoration and infrastructure work that brings about 1,700 jobs to the Lake Tahoe Basin every year.
Of course, here’s a list that breaks down the benefits for Tahoe:
●$7,000,000 for water infrastructure that supports fire suppression
●$6,088,000 for aquatic invasive species management
●$6,500,000 for watershed management
●$6,000,000 for forest health programs
●TOTAL: $25.588 million, an increase of $9.5 million over the previous year
The leadership of Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada, with the support of Reps. John Garamendi of California and Steven Horsford of Nevada, was integral in pushing for this robust level of funding with the House Appropriations Committee. The continued support of our entire Tahoe family, including Reps. Tom McClintock of California, and Susie Lee and Dina Titus of Nevada, continues to be vital to our long-term success.
This victory is one important step in a long process. It’s also not the only effort bringing needed funding for environmental protection and habitat restoration programs to Tahoe.
In May of this year, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend the authorization of the 2016 Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The legislation is a critical pathway to expand the positive impacts that the Lake Tahoe Restoration Acts of 2000 and 2016 have delivered to Tahoe’s environment and community – specifically by keeping the pipeline open for hundreds of millions of dollars to finish crucial environmental work left undone, and to make Tahoe resilient in the face of unprecedented impacts from climate change.
The Lake Tahoe Partnership, coordinated by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Chamber, along with our numerous partners, will continue to spur both of these efforts along. Working together with the community and our elected representatives, we will add to the long list of things that make Tahoe a national treasure. Find out more at keeptahoeblue.org/ltra2021.
Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD is chief executive officer of the League to Save Lake Tahoe / Keep Tahoe Blue. Joanne S. Marchetta is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Steve Teshara is chief executive officer of the Tahoe Chamber.
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