Workers learn how to implement BMPs |

Workers learn how to implement BMPs

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Contractors met up with erosion experts to learn the latest techniques designed to keep water in the ground so it doesn’t run into Lake Tahoe and cloud its waters or cause algae to grow.

Every home at Lake Tahoe Basin must have required erosion controls installed, at the very latest, by 2008.

An erosion control, what experts call BMPs or Best Management Practice, can be a trench along the drip line of a roof, a retaining wall that holds up a steep slope or a tank that catches storm water collected from a driveway.

“Every year (the techniques) change,” said Dale Rise, an excavator who attended Wednesday’s BMP workshop at the Demonstration Garden at the Lake Tahoe Community College. “Now there are ways to do drip lines way better, way more efficient.”

Rise attended the first contractors workshop four years ago at Zephyr Cove. Back then, experts recommended bales of straw to prevent erosion. Today it’s known that some of the straw that was used brought with it invasive weeds. Now contractors know to make sure they buy weed-free or rice straw, Rise said.

Landscape contractors also attended Wednesday’s workshop. John Crus and Tony Pastore, of Ecologic Design, drove down from the North Shore to listen and learn.

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Crus said that as the deadline for homeowners to have all their erosion controls in place nears, their company, Ecologic Design, will be ready to do the work.

“The real core of it is looking at the ecology of the whole thing,” Crus said. “Is there proper fertilizer, proper erosion controls, proper water collection, proper plants?”

Proper preparation before shovels touch any dirt is important to Rise, who says he is diligent about adhering to environmental requirements on the job. But he said often when he arrives on site, erosion control fencing has not been put in the right place by a general contractor.

“I’m a banger, I don’t let things ride … nine out of 10 times they are misplaced,” Rise said. “And there’s not one general contractor I can see at this meeting.”

Rise also said a lack of snow storage, also considered a Best Management Practice, is an issue that needs to be addressed. Rise said there needs to be a central designated area for snow storage so businesses such as motels have a place to put their snow.

Matt Graham, senior environmental specialist at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, agreed that snow storage is an issue that needs attention. Graham said this year a business at Sunnyside, which is on the North Shore, was caught plowing its snow directly into Lake Tahoe.

“It’s like washing the parking lot right into the lake,” Graham said.

The workshop was hosted by the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in collaboration with the Lake Tahoe Evironmental Education Coalition and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Erosion Control Team. The Nevada Tahoe Conservation District had a similar workshop in the backyard of a private home in Skyland on Monday. Three more workshops are scheduled this summer at the LTCC Demonstration Garden.

Nearly 60,000 parcels of land exist in the basin and about 35,000 of those properties have been evaluated to determine if they require erosion controls. The deadline to have erosion controls installed varies depending on the location of the home.

To schedule a free evaluation of your property or for more information, call the TRPA Erosion Control Team at (775) 588-4547, ext. 202, or the Tahoe Resource Conservation Program at (530) 543-1501, ext. 6, or the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District (775) 586-7223, ext. 1.

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