Tahoe freshens up list of things to do | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe freshens up list of things to do

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is updating and prioritizing its plan for environmental projects needed at Lake Tahoe.

“We’ll really be kicking this off in a substantial way in January,” said Carl Hasty, Environmental Improvement Program manager for TRPA. “It will take six months to complete. It will involve all the implementing agencies and all the stake-holder groups.”

“(The EIP) has always been intended to be dynamic,” he added. “It just seemed like the right time to update it – improve it.”

The EIP identifies capital investments that need to be made by 2007 to meet TRPA’s thresholds for water quality, soil conservation, air quality, vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, recreation and scenery. A draft of the EIP was considered at the time of the 1997 Presidential Summit at Lake Tahoe, and TRPA’s governing board officially approved it in 1998.

The EIP roughly divides up the price tag for implementation – $908 million – between federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector.

Some of the projects outlined in the EIP are described only in a broad manner; those will be given better descriptions in the update. Also, the current EIP names what needs to be done but doesn’t prioritize the importance of projects. That will be fixed.

The revision will include an up-to-date finance plan, and operation and maintenance costs – not just the prices of implementation – will be identified. The update also will better tie EIP projects into a basin-wide computer database.

In addition to TRPA’s nine-person EIP staff, as much as half of the people in the 60-employee agency will be focused on the EIP update next year. But that won’t be the extent of participation.

While numerous groups that implement projects – such as federal, state and local governments around the basin – were involved in establishing the original EIP, Hasty said he expects even more involvement this time.

“We did (have involvement before), but not as much as I expect this time around. I think everyone recognizes this is a tool we can use. I think there’s a lot more awareness of it, a lot more interest in making it a good working tool,” Hasty said. “In my mind, this is a project that will make the EIP a better working tool for all the agencies involved.”

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