Public comment on golf course opens |

Public comment on golf course opens

Adam Jensen
Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneProject manager Cindy Walck discusses the erosion of stream banks at Lake Tahoe Golf Course on Thursday. The bank in the background has eroded 40 feet over the years because an undersized bridge over the Upper Truckee River has caused increased water velocity and unnaturally high erosion rates, Walck said.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A controversial project to restore sections of the Upper Truckee River – and potentially make significant changes to Lake Tahoe Golf Course and Washoe Meadows State Park – will be back in the public spotlight in coming weeks.

Agencies involved in the Upper Truckee River Restoration and Golf Course Reconfiguration Project released the proposal’s draft environmental document on Wednesday.

The project is a partnership between California State Parks and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The release of the document began a public-comment period that will last through Nov. 4.

The goal of the project is to reduce erosion that is harming Lake Tahoe’s clarity, restore historic river flows and improve wildlife habitat, while maintaining the recreational and economic benefits of the area, according to a statement on the project released this week.

Through studies, Andrew Simon, with the National Sedimentation Laboratory, has found clarity-harming sediment entering Lake Tahoe could be “significantly reduced by controlling stream bank erosion in the reaches adjacent to the golf course and downstream from the airport,” according to the statement.

The environmental document includes five alternatives, ranging from doing nothing to completely removing the golf course and restoring the area.

Reducing the course to an executive course, nine holes or moving nine existing holes farther from the Upper Truckee River are also considered in the document.

People who use Washoe Meadows State Park and nearby residents have raised concern about moving nine holes of the golf course into the state park and closer to homes.

Golfers have also objected to alternatives that would dramatically change the layout of the course.

How changes to the golf course could affect the South Shore economy are also included in the environmental document. The course provides 168 jobs directly and indirectly and generates $6.1 million in visi￿tor spending, according to an economic feasibility study included in the environmental document.

The golf course is among the top five revenue generators in the California State Park system, generating $880,000 annually, said Cynthia Walck, the project’s director.

“I’m looking for a solution that works for the environment. I’m looking for something that works for the community,” Walck said Thursday.

Following public comment, approval from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and publication of a final environmental document, State Parks officials are expected to make a decision regarding which alternative to select, Walck said.

People can send comments via mail or e-mail them to utproject@parks Public comments can also be made in person during TRPA meetings where the project will be discussed this winter.

The environmental document and additional information are located at:

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