TRPA approves nearly $600,000 for county |

TRPA approves nearly $600,000 for county

B.H. Bose

The local governmental planning agency approved the release of more than $500,000 to El Dorado County for stream zone and erosion control projects.

“The money will be used to construct capital improvements that are water quality and erosion control projects that are listed on the TRPA (Environmental Improvement Program) list,” said Janel Gifford, senior civil engineer with the El Dorado County Transportation Department.

During the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board meeting, members agreed to allocate $572,977.44 for 12 projects listed in the EIP – a long list of current and future projects in the Tahoe Basin that local, state, and federal governments have agreed to fund over the next 10 years. The projects stemmed from the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum in July.

Most of the money – $539,677.44 – will be used for erosion control projects, while the remainder will go toward stream environment zone improvements and maintenance. Officials with El Dorado County requested the funding for projects implemented this year or in the spring of next year. They include the Pioneer Trail III, the Pat Lowe Bike Trail, Hepka, Cascade, and Silvertip.

“The Pioneer Trail will be extending the bike lanes that are already there. Where they are not apparent, we will put them in. It will be from Golden Bear (Trail) to the city limits,” said Gifford. It will be completed through a combination of air quality and water quality funds along with California-Tahoe Conservation District funds. “We may be getting Tahoe Keys mitigation funds, too, but we are still waiting to hear,” she said.

The Pioneer Trail will “involve erosion control, the creation of a couple water retention basins, curb and gutter improvements, and draining control,” said Larry Benoit, environment improvement planner with the TRPA.

At the Cascade properties off Emerald Bay Road, the county will embark on a joint project with the Cascade homeowners’ association. According to Gifford, the association will pay for repaving of streets in the area, while the county will use mitigation and conservation funds to install erosion control and water quality improvements.

“The Cascade one is interesting because it involves the (Cascade) home owners’ association. It basically will be an erosion control project below Cascade Lake,” Benoit said.

Both projects are in the planning stage, and work will not start until next year.

Work will begin this summer, most likely in August, to upgrade water quality and erosion control mechanisms on Hepka Drive. Water retention basins in Meyers will also be widened, and a bike trail will be constructed on both sides of Highway 50 in Meyers (the Pat Lowe Bike Trail), Benoit said. In Rubicon, repaving of several dirt roads also will occur.

Some of the recently acquired funds will go toward yearly maintenance, such as cleaning out culverts and draining ditches.

According to Benoit, the mitigation funds account for the county is running a bit low, so the recent request will probably be the last one the TRPA staff receives this year.

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