South Tahoe resident files lawsuit against California Tahoe Conservancy

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A South Lake Tahoe resident is taking the California Tahoe Conservancy to court after their home sustained damage during the winter storms last winter. 

Damian Sowers filed a lawsuit against CTC in June 2023 in the El Dorado County Superior Court alleging restoration work done in the Upper Truckee Marsh, which is adjacent to Sower’s property, caused his property to be damaged by flooding. 

CTC began work on the marshland in 2020 and concluded work in 2022. The work included increasing the floodplain and creating new waterways in the marsh. 

According to the lawsuit, in the project’s Final Environmental Impact Report, “the Conservancy cites Project Objective 7 as follows, ‘avoid increasing flood hazards on adjacent private property.'”

In December 2021, Sowers emailed CTC, expressing concerns about the potential for flooding on his property. CTC sent employees to investigate. 

“On December 22, 2021, Scott Carroll of the Conservancy emailed Plaintiff stating that ‘the grade control structures that the Conservancy constructed are not a primary factor contributing to the inundation you reported near your home,'” the lawsuit stated. 

Significant storms hit the Tahoe Basin at the end of 2022 into Spring of 2023. Sowers alleges in the lawsuit that his home and property were “severely flooded for about 80 days from December 31, 2022 through March 21, 2023.” 

“The actions and inactions of the Conservancy related to the Project, causing the flooding of Plaintiff’s home and Property, constitute a physical invasion of Plaintiff’s Property for a public use, placing an extreme burden on Plaintiff that is direct, substantial, and unique to the Property,” the lawsuit states. 

Sowers is asking for CTC to cover damages and the cost of the suit. 

A representative from CTC told the Tribune they could not comment on active litigation. 

CTC has not filed an official motion to dismiss but has asked the court to dismiss the case. The court will consider dismissal during a hearing on September 29 at 1:30 p.m. If the court decides to move the case forward, a Case Management Conference has been scheduled for October 17 at 3:30 p.m.

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