Springtime snowmelt and BMPs at Lake Tahoe
Special to the Tribune
The warm temperatures and bright sunshine recently have resulted in a brief period that demonstrated the effects of rapid springtime snow melt around Lake Tahoe.
As we watched water flowing down the streets and into the storm drains it brings to mind the need for each property owner to complete the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Best Management Practices (BMPs) on their parcel. TRPA requires that every property in the Lake Tahoe basin install erosion control measures to control runoff and help improve lake clarity.
According to the TRPA: “Best Management Practices (BMPs) are methods to help developed properties function more like natural, undisturbed forest and meadowland. Water that is conveyed to a lake by an undisturbed watershed is usually quite pure, because the watershed’s soils and plants act as a natural water purification system. BMPs help developed properties mimic natural conditions, preventing sediment and nutrients from entering our surface waters and filtering runoff water through the soil. By implementing BMPs, property owners can help slow the loss of lake clarity.”
Depending on the location of your property, the type of slope, proximity to a stream zone, soil type, vegetation and other factors, the amount of work required to complete the BMPs on your property can vary dramatically. BMPs for residential properties will often require planting vegetation or distributing mulch on bare land and compacted dirt; directing the runoff from snow melt and storm water, especially from impervious surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks and doing work to stabilize steep slopes and loose soil.
Owners of single-family homes are responsible for doing the BMP work on their property. If you are considering purchasing a condo, then the homeowners association will be responsible for the installation of BMPs. The cost might be paid out of reserves or there could be a special assessment, depending on the financial situation of the particular homeowners association.
Freestanding condo owners will very often be responsible for installing BMPs around the footprint of their property with the homeowners association taking responsibility for doing the BMPs in the common areas.
Some of the more common requirements to complete your BMPs are distributing gravel or rock mulch under decks and roof drip lines, repaving deteriorating driveways and sidewalks, revegetating compacted dirt areas and installing slotted drains in places where water tends to run off pavement rapidly or collect in pools.
All property owners have a responsibility for maintaining their parcels and keeping Lake Tahoe as clear as possible by reducing contamination from sediment and pollutants.
Installing BMPs and keeping them up to date by replacing gravel, cleaning slotted drains, etc., are just one step in helping to bring back Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity to its previous glory.
Don Kanare is the founder and Sabrina Belleci is the owner and broker of RE/MAX North Lake in Incline Village. You can follow their blog at http://www.InsideIncline.com.