Senate approves $415 million Lake Tahoe Restoration Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate approved the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, which was included as part of a $10-billion water projects bill, on Thursday, Sept. 15.
The legislation authorizes $415 million over 10 years for forest management, environmental and watershed restoration, storm water management and other environmental projects in Lake Tahoe. It has now moved on to the House of Representatives.
The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was included as underlying text in the national Water Resources Development Act, which allocates funds for other projects like the replacement of lead-contaminated pipes in Flint, Michigan, and the restoration of Florida’s Everglades.
The Senate measure sanctions 29 projects in 18 states for dredging, flood control and other such projects overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Nevada Senator Harry Reid — who sponsored the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act alongside California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Nevada Senator Dean Heller—said that the bill’s passage in the Senate is an important step, but meaningless unless it gets through the House of Representatives and onto the president’s desk.
“Last month, at my invitation, President Obama visited Lake Tahoe for the very first time to speak at the 20th anniversary of the Lake Tahoe Summit,” said Reid in a statement.
“At that event the federal government, the states of Nevada and California, local businesses, residents and philanthropists all rededicated ourselves to the work of protecting this unique and wonderful lake. As the entire world saw last month, the beauty of Lake Tahoe is unparalleled. We must do everything we can to keep it that way.”
Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said the Senate approval of the legislation was “fantastic news.”
“This is a critical step for this important piece of legislation, which we have been working on for years,” said Goodman Collins. “Now we need the U.S. House of Representative to pass a similar version of the water act so that these vital measures to protect Lake Tahoe can advance.”
The $415 million set aside for the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act is earmarked for a number of different environmental restoration and protection projects, including:
• Wildfire Prevention – $150 million for wildfire fuel reduction and forest management.
• Environmental Improvement Program – $80 million for projects like bike trails, creek restoration and fire treatment.
• Invasive Species Management Program – $45 million to prevent and manage invasive species, like the Asian clam.
• Stormwater Projects – $113 million for storm water management, erosion control and watershed restoration projects.
• Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program – $20 million to recover this threatened species, which is also Nevada’s state fish.
• Project Oversight – $5 million will go towards monitoring these projects, and another $2 million to cover the cost of land exchanges and sales in the Tahoe Basin.