Supervisor pushes for BMP solutions: Touts neighborhood coordination, partnerships with government |

Supervisor pushes for BMP solutions: Touts neighborhood coordination, partnerships with government

El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago pushed for neighborhood cooperation and public-private partnerships Wednesday to get mandated erosion control projects completed on private properties in South Shore.

“It’s time to bite the bullet and come up with a new plan, a new program,” she said at the Governing Board meeting of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday in Kings Beach. She is one of 15 governors.

South Shore’s BMPs are due this year and most properties have not completed them. The city of South Lake Tahoe and county are penalized for the lag by TRPA, which awards building rights based on how many BMPs are completed.

Some have complained they don’t have the money to do the projects, which for homeowners can run up to $6,000, or more than $100,000 for businesses.

Erosion is thought to be a prime culprit in Lake Tahoe’s declining water clarity. Government agencies use tax dollars for large-scale projects, and BMPs are touted as private property’s contribution to protecting the lake.

“We are talking about integrating public and private projects so that in the long run we have a very sustainable, trackable, more effective response to protecting and restoring our watershed,” Santiago said later.

Santiago is running for re-election on June 6, facing South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Ted Long.

Santiago wants to come up with a demonstration project in a willing neighborhood. She asked to have an informational presentation for the June board meeting on how such a plan would work.

The supervisor said there are opportunities for neighborhoods to take advantage of economies of scale. If two or more homeowners get together on their BMPs, they could save money on supplies, labor and delivery.

“Having a neighborhood approach, people could split the cost of equipment by coordinating with the local government environmental improvement projects,” said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan. “With her leadership, it could build momentum for that approach.”

BMPs usually involve installing rock-filled trenches around a home’s dripline or at the end of a driveway.

There are fines for not completing BMPs by the deadline, but TRPA officials insist they are not in a penalty phase. The agency hopes homeowners will start by doing whatever they can to stabilize soil on their property, like covering bare soil with mulch and planting vegetation.

Requesting a free BMP site evaluation from their conservation district is also a step in the right direction. The site evaluations will not be free indefinitely.

To schedule a free BMP site evaluation:

— Nevada residents, call Nevada Tahoe Conservation District: (775) 586-1610 or go to

— California residents, call Tahoe Resource Conservation District (530) 543-1501 or go to

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