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Help keep Tahoe blue with Web site

Gregory Crofton

People who are unaware of the agencies and policies which make Lake Tahoe one of the most regulated places in the world can now look to the Web for answers.

The Tahoe Integrated Information Management System, online since Nov. 11, is designed to be a clearing house for information about the lake and the $1 billion worth of environmental improvement projects to help protect its clear, cobalt water.

TIIMS, http://www.tiims.org, cost about $600,000 and took three years to get off the ground. It aims to provide up-to-date information to the more than 25 agencies, five counties and thousands of homeowners and visitors who care about protecting Tahoe.

“We wanted the public to understand what it is the agencies are doing,” said Tricia York, an environmental scientist at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which has spearheaded the project. “And to have a centralized place where data can be stored, accessed, and shared.”

But there’s more to it than just science, layered maps and tables – the site has fun stuff to look at, too. More than 170 historical photos of the basin are posted, and there is a slide show featuring beautiful, modern photographs of the lake.

The version of the Web site online now is considered by York to be a prototype. The official launch date is Jan. 15.

York encourages people to peruse the site now then fill out a survey on its home page. The feedback provided will let her staff know what works, what doesn’t and what’s missing.

“I had a chance to look at TIIMS,” said Leo Poppoff, an atmospheric scientist who has served for 20 years on a commission that advises the TRPA. “I think potentially it’s a great site, but it still needs a lot of filling in with real data.”

TIIMS will be crucial in the drive to protect Tahoe, he said.

“There is lot of data floating around … that you can’t easily get your hands on,” Poppoff said. “But it’s not because people aren’t willing to share it. First, it’s hard to find; second, you have to somehow be able to download it.”

York can be reached at (775) 588-4547. Comments can also be sent to tiims@trpa.org.

Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com