TRPA opinion: Let’s keep progress going at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is in the midst of a small renaissance. And 2016 saw another year of progress with more redevelopment projects, bike trails and environmental restoration projects taking shape all around the lake.
Redevelopment at the Y and on Harrison Avenue is breathing new life into those areas and helping realize the progress the city of South Lake Tahoe envisions in its area plans. The same goes for the new state of the art health and sports performance center that Barton Health started to build last summer on its medical campus.
Edgewood Tahoe’s new lakeshore lodge will rival the world’s finest resorts when it opens this summer. The project also includes major wildlife habitat and water quality improvements for Edgewood Creek, showing how economic revitalization and environmental improvement work together at Lake Tahoe.
President Barack Obama’s visit in August put a national spotlight on two decades of progress our region has made conserving and restoring the environment and enhancing recreation opportunities through the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program.
As the president said, environmental conservation goes hand in hand with fighting climate change, and, “Our healing of Lake Tahoe proves it’s within our power to pass on the incredible bounty of this country to a next generation.”
President Obama’s visit for the 20th annual summit also set the stage for Congress’s passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in December.
The legislation authorizes up to $415 million in future federal funding appropriations for projects that clean up stormwater pollution to improve water quality and lake clarity, clear hazardous fuels to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk, and stop the spread and harmful impacts of aquatic invasive species.
This federal investment will be matched by local, state, nonprofit and private sector partners, and help ensure our progress continues over the next decade.
2016 was a year of progress and major milestones, but the Lake Tahoe region faces many challenges.
While we continue to invest in and revitalize our communities, we must also make them more walkable and bikeable and enhance our transit services to seamlessly connect our region. We must continue to plan and implement projects that conserve and restore the natural environment that forms the bedrock of our quality of life and recreation-based economy, and make our environment and communities more resilient against the threats posed by more severe cycles of both drought and flooding storms.
We are making steady progress in the face of these challenges. By staying committed to work together to achieve our common goals, Lake Tahoe’s progress will continue for years to come.
Joanne S. Marchetta is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.