Tahoe Resource Conservation District

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Lake Tahoe Regional Storm Water Monitoring Program Moves Forward

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With support from California Proposition 84 grant funds, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) is leading the effort to measure pollutants in urban runoff at Lake Tahoe to help evaluate the combined effectiveness of pollutant control measures and consistently track and report monitoring findings.  This effort, known as the Regional Storm Water Monitoring Program (RSWMP) is a collaborative program supported by regulatory agencies, local government representatives, and scientists in the Lake Tahoe region.

With the adoption of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Regional Plan Update and the bi-state Lake Tahoe clarity restoration plan known as the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Lahontan Water Board), TRPA, and local government agencies need to evaluate how adopted plans and policies are affecting the lake, and quality of urban storm water that flows into Lake Tahoe is an important indicator. The RSWMP is a critical step in providing a comprehensive approach to monitoring stormwater around the Tahoe Basin.

The program has united academic scientists, environmental agencies, and private contractors who have developed various methods for monitoring stormwater in the Tahoe basin over the last decade to develop a collaborative, scientifically sound, cost-effective regional storm water monitoring approach.  The Tahoe RCD, in partnership with the Water Board, the TRPA and other stakeholders will propose several monitoring methods to help basin managers and scientists implement urban storm water monitoring plans to assess status and trends, Best Management Practice effectiveness, and provide permit compliance monitoring. 

 The RSWMP project will provide an administrative structure for prioritizing urban stormwater monitoring expenditures, recommend cost-effective monitoring methods, help gather data to answer key resource management questions, and track basin-wide progress toward achieving Lake clarity goals.

 In addition to programmatic development, the Tahoe RCD has initiated monitoring of several Tahoe Basin urban catchments and stormwater treatment facilities to assess the effectiveness of pollutant load reduction efforts. Initial monitoring work began in October 2013, and additional urban catchments will be monitored beginning October 2014.

The Proposition 84 resources will also support the implementation of a single comprehensive RSWMP database that will ultimately house both historic and new storm water quality data at Lake Tahoe and will be accessible online. Consistent data format and data analysis techniques will allow for ready comparison of results across all monitoring sites and data collection objectives. 

The Tahoe RCD is providing technical and organizational support for program implementation. The Water Board, in partnership with the TRPA and a collection of local and regional stakeholders, serves as a technical advisor to the Tahoe RCD and its team of consultants and academic advisors. The RSWMP project is scheduled to begin monitoring in October 2014 and will continue with programmatic development through early 2015.

Click here for the official press release.