Protecting the lake is theme of summit |

Protecting the lake is theme of summit

Adam Jensen

Dan Thrift / Tribune file photoU.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein addresses the audience during last year's Lake Tahoe Summit at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.

Each year, the Lake Tahoe Summit brings politicians, agency officials and scientists together to discuss the future of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment.

And for the first time in its 12-year history, the Lake Tahoe Summit will be held at the South Shore – the Valhalla Estate at the Tallac Historic Site, to be exact.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid are among those expected to speak at Saturday’s event.

“Lake Tahoe is one of the most beloved and special places on Earth,” Feinstein said in a statement. “But the lake and surrounding basin are natural treasures at risk – from wildfires that threaten the alpine forest, to global warming and pollution that threaten the lake’s famed clarity. As stewards of this jewel of the Sierra, it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to preserve the lake and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. There is still much to do. So, I look forward to the 12th annual Lake Tahoe Summit, and to renewing our commitment to Lake Tahoe.”

Feinstein, Reid and former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan co-sponsored the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in 2000, which set off $1.1 billion worth of restoration efforts under the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program.

“I am proud to have helped found the Tahoe Summit, and the health of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding areas is hugely important to me,” Reid said in a statement. “We have accomplished a lot in the past 11 years, but we need to continue work on lake clarity and restoration, and implementing the Environmental Improvement Program so we can all enjoy Lake Tahoe for years to come.”

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Renewing the Environmental Improvement Program will cost an estimated $2.5 billion over the next 10 years. About $700 million already is available from sources such as the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act and state transportation funds, but approximately $1.8 billion still is needed, according to figures from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.