Two options for research center |

Two options for research center

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

UC Davis wants people to take a look at two ways it may spend $13.5 million to build a research center near the shores of Tahoe City.

Both proposals would convert the old Fish Hatchery, where the university has conducted its work since 1975, into an environmental education center.

The proposals differ in where they want the research center to go. Planners have come up with two sites, after years of searching, that will be discussed Wednesday at a meeting of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

They are:

n Five acres of state parks land within Lake Forest Village. The parcel is south of Lake Forest Road and meets the shore of Lake Tahoe midway between Burton Creek and Dollar Point.

n Or about 5 acres next to the old Fish Hatchery. The parcel is part of a campground managed by the Tahoe City Public Utility District and is considered by TRPA to be sensitive stream land. It sits just south of the state parks land.

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Last June, Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, called the proposal to build on state lands hypocritical, saying the lands were meant for recreation. Soon after, comments from the TRPA and the public persuaded UC Davis to embark on an in-depth environmental impact analysis report comparing both properties. It is expected to be released this spring.

Prior to going full bore on what’s called an EIS, or an environmental impact statement, planners reworked their initial environmental analysis in an effort to compare the two properties.

“Doing this one, we looked at both sites together and compared them,” said Sid England, environmental planner at UC Davis.

If the research center is built on the state lands it would contain 13,500 square feet, provide 35 parking spaces and involve realignment of a hiking trail and construction of a water line.

Today about 3,000 square feet of land is covered by the Tahoe Christian Center driveway, paths and a trail that leads to Lake Tahoe.

If the research center is built next to the old Fish Hatchery it would contain 9,500 square feet, provide 20 parking spaces and require construction of a new driveway. It would also involve extensive wetland restoration work.

Money for the project, which could begin being constructed as early as May 2004, was raised through private donations, England said.

The latest environmental analysis can be read at Public comments are due March 3 by 5 p.m.

Comments can be e-mailed to or mailed to John A. Meyer, Vice Chancellor – Resource Management and Planning, University of California, One Shields Ave., 376 Mrak Hall, Davis, CA 95616.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at