Watershed Assesment to be unveiled Feb. 16 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Watershed Assesment to be unveiled Feb. 16

A several-hundred-page document which will help decision makers decide what are the best ways to fix environmental problems at Lake Tahoe will be released later this month.

The long-awaited Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment, a result of the 1997 Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum, will be unveiled at a Feb. 16 workshop.

Carl Hasty, EIP coordinator for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and one of the team leaders in developing the Watershed Assessment, described it as “an important piece” for restoration efforts at Tahoe.

Starting early in 1998, a team – including officials from the University of California, Davis; University of Nevada, Reno; Forest Service and TRPA – started compiling most of the scientific research that exists on Tahoe.

Much of the information in the 1,000-page-plus watershed assessment is not new; it summarizes what has already been done in areas such as Tahoe’s history, air quality, water quality, biology and socioeconomics.

However, good science-based information hasn’t always been used in decision making at Tahoe, and the assessment’s intent is to help policy makers.

In recent years TRPA established its Environmental Improvement Program, a $900 million plan for achieving all of the agency’s environmental thresholds. The Watershed Assessment could be used to prioritize EIP projects and make sure the ones identified are the best ones for Tahoe.

Hasty says many benefits of creating the document are already visible.

“One of the intangible benefits of what we’ve learned through this has been having an integrated team of scientists working in synch on some of the major issues at Tahoe,” Hasty said.

Researchers at Tahoe in the past have often been competitive and not shared information. With the revelation a few years ago that Tahoe’s continually declining clarity may soon be irreversible, however, that has been changing.

The Watershed Assessment is the product of the first significant scientific collaboration among Tahoe researchers.

What: Conference on Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment

When: Feb. 16 – news conference, 10 a.m. to noon; discussions, 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Where: North Tahoe Conference Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd., Kings Beach

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