Joanne Marchetta: Lake Tahoe shoreline plan making progress
More than a billion people in nearly 200 countries will come together to celebrate and support environmental protection during Earth Day events this April.
This year’s international Earth Day celebration begins the countdown to Earth Day 2020, the 50th anniversary of the event that helped launch the environmental movement and opened the doors to critical U.S. environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
Here at Lake Tahoe, we have numerous reasons to celebrate the occasion and renew our commitments to those environmental improvements that are still needed to protect this national treasure.
One of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s recently passed environmental policies, the Shoreline Plan, is rolling out this season. Dozens of partners helped develop the shoreline policies through a multi-year collaborative process. The TRPA Governing Board unanimously approved the plan in October.
The landmark program protects the scenic shoreline environment, advances recreation access to the lake, and improves recreation experiences for swimmers, paddlers, and boaters at Lake Tahoe.
The plan lifts a longstanding moratorium on new shorezone structures, including private piers and buoys, allowing lakefront property owners to apply for new waterfront access structures and to modify or expand existing structures. It also requires lakefront property owners, homeowners’ associations, and marinas to register all existing boat moorings, including buoys, boatlifts, and boat slips.
New programs to make sure shoreline structures and boating don’t harm the environment, scenery, or recreation experiences at Lake Tahoe are at the center of the plan. These programs include boater education and enforcement of the 600-foot no-wake zone at Lake Tahoe, expansion of the no-wake zone to include all of Emerald Bay, and the implementation of no-wake zone buffers around all swimmers, paddlers, and shoreline structures to prevent unsafe boating where motor boats, paddlers, and swimmers interact.
New shoreline fees to pay for the program — including mooring fees, an additional boat sticker fee, and boat rental concession fees — are now in effect for the 2019 boating season. Getting those programs up and running is just one way we’ve seen the collaborative Shoreline Plan process turn into on-the-ground action since the Governing Board’s approval last fall.
We’ve seen strong interest from people with moorings in getting them registered through our online portal on Lake Tahoe Info, https://laketahoeinfo.org/moorings. Planning staff are also reviewing applications for shorezone structures.
TRPA will have two boat crews on the lake this summer to educate boaters about the lake’s no-wake zones. We’re also working with all law enforcement agencies to coordinate and prioritize enforcement strategies on the water.
Just as Earth Day has inspired billions of people to get involved in protecting the environment, we want you to stay involved and informed about the Shoreline Plan as well.
Visit http://www.trpa.org/shoreline to learn more about the new programs, permitting, and fees. You’ll also find a Shoreline Implementation Program Report that details how the Shoreline Plan will take effect in coming months, and you can sign up for email newsletters to stay up-to-date about how the plan is progressing.
South Lake Tahoe Earth Day runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 at Bijou Community Park, with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival following that evening. TRPA will be there to celebrate our special environment with the community. Please come out and join us.
Joanne S. Marchetta is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.