Tahoe Resource Conservation District

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A Changing Lake: The Fight Against Aquatic Invasive Species

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Come join and join us for a night of hands-on activities and presentations about the past, present, and future of aquatic invasive species control and prevention efforts.

This year’s annual public forum will be held from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences in Incline Village which hosts a variety of hands on exhibits such as: an invasive species station filled with various invasive species and a timeline of introduction, including a fish tank displays with live native and invasive fish species. Step onto the boat exhibit and learn about the secchi disk and how it is used to describe Lake clarity, or take a tour of the hands-on information about Lake Tahoe and its history. Enjoy refreshments as you tour the interactive booths and learn about the numerous actions and ongoing Science that is being done to protect Lake Tahoe while the kids take part in an invasive scavenger hunt. Presentations will give participants information about Eyes on the Lake and invasive weed identification, control projects planned for 2016 and beyond, as well as a presentation from the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association about their role in tackling invasive species (see schedule below).

6:00 – Welcome “Tahoe Keepers Video”

6:05 – “Eyes on the Lake” Invasive Weed Information

6:20 – Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Prevention Programs

6:35 – Tahoe Keys Invasive Weed Plan 

For more information or to RSVP contact Sarah Bauwens 530-543-1501 ext.126 or sbauwens@tahoercd.org.

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2015 Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Season Update

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Contact:  South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief, Jeff Meston (530) 542-6160                             

South Lake Tahoe, Calif. – Early in 2015, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), as well as our partners at the National Weather Service, predicted 2015 to be a significant year for wildland fires throughout the Western States.   A combination of a sustained period of drought, coupled with weather that is conducive to nearly perfect burning conditions, have challenged local firefighting resources.  Those predictions have rang very true as we continue to hear about new fires occurring almost daily all over the Western States.  This year will go down as one of the most hazardous years for wildland fire.  Locally, firefighters have responded to a variety of wildland fires within our region and thankfully have been able to mitigate them quickly and efficiently. Sadly, we recently lost a USFS firefighter who tragically lost his life battling an incident south of Echo Summit.
 
The California Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System is the best in the world, and our agencies along with our partners in Nevada have deployed local resources to fight fires throughout California.  This year our local U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) obtained use of the “Super Scooper”, a superb firefighting plane to reinforce our ground firefighting resources, now based at the Lake Tahoe Airport.  Our number one goal is to prevent the ignition of wildfires, and to accomplish that, we need the public’s help.
 
We live and play in a forest. Where are you discarding your cigarette butts?  Are you parking on dry grass? Did you start a campfire in a prohibited location? Did you put it out completely? Are you burning your trash? Are you causing sparks while driving?  Over 90% of unintended wildfire is human caused in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
 
If you live in or own a home in the region, have you completed your defensible space? If not, why not?  Without defensible space, it is unreasonable to think that fire agencies can place a fire truck to defend your home during a wildland fire.  Look around your neighborhood, how many homes are there?  Is it easy or hard to gain access to your home?  Are your streets wide enough for a fire truck to access the neighborhood and for you and your neighbors to pass that engine to evacuate?  Firefighting resources are limited and there is not a home in existence worth a firefighter’s life. 
Help us to help you by following the following basic defensible space tenants.
 
  • Vegetation surrounding a building or structure is fuel for a fire. Even the building or structure is considered fuel. Research and experience have shown that fuels reduction around a building or structure increases the probability of it surviving a wildfire. Good defensible space allows firefighters to protect and save buildings or structures safely without facing unacceptable risk to their lives. Fuels reduction through vegetation management is the key to creating good defensible space.
  • Properties with greater fire hazards will require more clearing. Clearing requirements will be greater for those lands with steeper terrain, larger and denser fuels, fuels that are highly volatile, and in locations subject to frequent fires.
  • Creation of defensible space through vegetation management usually means reducing the amount of fuel around the building or structure, providing separation between fuels,and/or re shaping retained fuels by trimming.
  • In all cases, fuels reduction means arranging the tree, shrubs and other fuel sources in a way that makes it difficult for fire to transfer from one fuel source to another. It does not mean cutting down all trees and shrubs, or creating a bare ring of earth across the property.
  • A homeowner’s defensible space clearing is limited to 100 feet away from his or her building or structure or to the property line, whichever is less, and limited to their land.
  • Homeowners who complete fuel reduction activities that remove or dispose of vegetation are require to comply with all federal, state or local environmental protection laws and obtain permits when necessary.
 
For more information on what homeowners can do to create defensible space around their home and property, visit http://livingwithfire.info/tahoe.          
 
 
About the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team
The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) consists of representatives of Tahoe Basin fire agencies, Cal Fire, Nevada Division of Forestry and related state agencies, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the USDA Forest Service, conservation districts from both states, the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Our Mission is to protect lives, property and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and educating the public on becoming a Fire Adapted Community.
 
For more information, visit www.tahoefft.org

Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team Reminds People to “Can Your Ashes”

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South Lake Tahoe, Calif.  – Lake Tahoe’s fire departments are reminding people that it’s dangerous to dispose of fireplace, wood stove or barbecue ashes in improper containers and locations. Embers, often concealed in what appears to be cold ashes, can remain hot enough to kindle a fire for several days. It is recommended to wait at least 96 hours and/or 4 days before disposing ashes.

To safely dispose of ashes:

  • Put discarded ashes in a heavy metal container, douse with water, and cover with fitted metal lid.
  • Store the container outside and away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles and other combustible materials.
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  • Never put ashes in bags or boxes.
  • Contact your local trash collection agency for their disposal recommendations after ashes have cooled and embers are out.

 As the fall and winter heating season approaches, please remember to regularly inspect and clean your chimney. Soot and creosote are combustible materials that accumulate inside chimneys and create a dangerous fire hazard unless they are removed. Just recently, a lakeside home in Zephyr Cove was destroyed by an escaped fire due to a malfunctioning wood burning appliance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHJOMG51tp0.

 If you have an older wood stove or fireplace in your home, please consider upgrading it with a more efficient heat source that can also help improve Lake Tahoe’s air and water quality.

Newer wood stoves that are EPA compliant have catalytic converters that pull many particulates out of the smoke before it is emitted. Similarly, gas stoves emit significantly less pollutants. Replacing inefficient wood heaters saves heat while protecting the Lake. Rebates are also available to help people replace their older, inefficient wood heaters and fireplaces. More information is available at http://www.trpa.org/permitting/homeowner-info/wood-stoves/.

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Approved ash disposal can (photo courtesy of Meeks Lumber)

 

Other general fire safety tips for the home heating season:

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Test alarms at least once a month.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from space heaters and other heat sources.
  • Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking.
  • Keep candles and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Extinguish all fires, even candles, when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Remember to call 911 for all fires, no matter how small.

 People who properly can their ashes and follow these other fire safety tips can save lives and property. Please contact your local fire agency for more information.

Tahoe RCD in partnership with STPUD is hosting FREE Water Conservation Workshops

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Don’t miss out on these Water Conservation Workshops being held on the North and South shores of Lake Tahoe! These workshops are great for professionals as well as residents, and discuss a variety of topics dealing with ways to conserve water in the current drought situation we are experiencing. 

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8th Annual Conservation Landscape Tour

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Get inspired to transform your home’s landscape into a mountain oasis! This year’s theme is discovering the many approaches to Tahoe Friendly Landscaping. The tour will begin at the Lake Tahoe Community College Demonstration Garden where participants can pick up passports and a map of the landscape tour while enjoying refreshments and interacting with a BMP maintenance demonstration. While on the tour you will have the pleasure of viewing numerous houses from our local community that are shining examples of sustainable landscaping. Each of the houses will be hosted by a local agency acting as your informational resource in regards to these landscapes. Topics will include attracting pollinators to your garden, integrated pest management, sustainable turf care, habitat gardening, erosion control, defensible space, and gardening with native and climate appropriate plants. We would like to thank Keep Tahoe Blue, South Tahoe Public Utility District, Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy, City of South Lake Tahoe, and Master Gardeners of El Dorado County for coming together to make this year’s conservation landscape tour one the community will not forget.

 Time: 4:30pm – 7:30pm

Check –in Begins at 4:15

This event is free to attend, RSVP is requested

Contact: Sarah Bauwens at sbauwens@tahoercd.org or 530-543-1501 ext.126