Pathway 2007 finalizing environmental standards |

Pathway 2007 finalizing environmental standards

Amanda Fehd

A forum of 40 lakewide stakeholders will meet Friday, Jan. 27, at 8 a.m. at Embassy Suites near Heavenly Village to hash out the last details of proposed environmental standards for the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Pathway 2007 forum will spend the day refining vision statements for several key parts of life in Tahoe: air and water quality, vegetation, fish and wildlife, and socioeconomics.

The goals will then go before the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board for endorsement.

Then the forum will have to figure out how to reach those goals. “The forum will begin work on strategies – the how and what of the planning phase,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman.

For instance, the proposed goal for lake clarity is about 97 feet. How to reach that goal will be another issue. Last year, clarity stood at 72 feet.

Pathway 2007 is a process to come up with 20-year plans for the four most influential agencies in the Tahoe basin: the TRPA, the Forest Service, Lahontan Water Board and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

The forum includes stakeholders from private citizens to businesses to conservation groups like the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

And come March, everyday citizens will get a chance to participate in the making of their own communities around the lake in a more down-to-earth town-hall setting, according to TRPAspokeswoman Julie Regan.

The agency is bringing consultants into the Pathway process to work with several communities in the basin. Residents will have chance to voice opinions on how they want their community to develop, a thing called place-based planning.

“Each community will devise for themselves their own community vision. This community planning will help inform the Pathway collaborative effort- but will not be guided by Pathway or any of its participating agencies,” Norman said.

The South Lake Tahoe City Council is still deciding whether to fork over $50,000 to pay for consultants to guide the process. Pathway organizers are also requesting $25,000 each from Douglas and El Dorado counties.

City manager Dave Jinkens said they are still negotiating the terms of payment. The City Council expressed at its last meeting they would like to see more accountability from the agency and more authority and representation for the Council if they take part in the placed-based planning process. Jinkens said they would like access to all paperwork from the consultants if they participate.

The issue will likely return to the agenda of their Feb. 7 meeting.

Regan said place-based planning is the best way to include the community in the planning process.

“The consultants have worked with communities throughout the West. They know how to break down complicated issues to a level where people can understand,” Regan said.

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