Zones would leave most public lakeshore undeveloped |

Zones would leave most public lakeshore undeveloped

Amanda Fehd

If the latest proposal on how to regulate Tahoe’s lakeshore area passes muster, most public land abutting the lake would be shut down to further development.

No additional piers, buoys or structures could be built in these areas, called “resource protection zones,” under Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s proposed Shorezone Alternative 6.

The zones are designed to protect wildlife and provide a pristine recreational experience, according to the TRPA.

About 46 percent of Tahoe’s lakeshore is owned by the public, either in the form of state parks or U.S. Forest Service land.

A public hearing on Alternative 6 last week elicited criticism on many points, including the protection zones.

The zones would almost eliminate opportunities to provide more public piers and buoys other than the 10 new public piers and 176 new public buoys allowed for in Alternative 6, critics charged. About 90 percent of the zones are public land.

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As it is, 5 percent of piers are public. That will not change under the plan. And 23 percent of buoys are public. With Alternative 6, 19 percent of buoys will be public.

In a column in Monday’s Tahoe Daily Tribune, TRPA executive director John Singlaub characterized the comments at the public hearing as “constructive and thoughtful.”

“I think what’s happening is an excellent example of democracy in action,” Singlaub wrote.

Written public comment will be accepted on Alternative 6 through this Friday. E-mail, or send to P.O. Box 5310, Stateline, 89449.

Almost 100 percent of Forest Service lakefront land will be in the zones, in addition to all three state parks on the West Shore.

The protection zones could throw a wrench into a California State Parks goal to solve an anchoring problem in Emerald Bay by establishing more buoys in the bay. State Parks has reportedly found anchor damage on underwater artifacts, and would like to designate acceptable areas for anchoring or adding buoys without damaging artifacts.

Anchoring is not prohibited by the protection zones, though additional buoys are.

TRPA said it is required to provide opportunities for people to enjoy a part of Tahoe’s environment which is pristine and untouched.

“One (TRPA) policy is that low-density recreation experience shall be provided along undeveloped shorelines and other natural areas,” said TRPA spokeswoman Angela Moniot.

TRPA is required to set standards for recreational opportunities, scenic enjoyment, water quality and wildlife protection, and noise, among other factors. The standards are often referred to as thresholds.

The zones are also home to a bald eagle nest and osprey nesting sites.

In California, bald eagles are considered endangered, and ospreys are considered a species of special concern. Ospreys have no federal listing, while bald eagles are listed as threatened federally as well as in the state of Nevada.