Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Media and Press Releases

Fire Adapted Communities Emerge in Tahoe

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.  – The Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities (Tahoe Network) continues to educate and empower Tahoe residents in its second year of operation. The omnipresence of wildfire in California and Nevada has led to a general awareness of wildfire risk, but knowledge of fire behavior is less widespread. Helping people understand embers – how they ignite materials which can lead to home destruction, and how to prevent such events, is a priority for the program.

Embers are the greatest catalyst to home ignition during wildfire. They can be lofted to the sky and travel miles from the front of a fire, igniting the plants, debris, and trees they land on. These fuel sources can spread fire to homes if not managed properly. Managing the defensible space on properties out to 100 feet is one way to reduce your risk to embers. Because many properties in Tahoe don’t typically extend 100 feet out from a house, talking to your neighbors about defensible space is imperative. The Tahoe Network seeks to connect neighbors and bring defensible space to the community level, creating neighborhood-wide defensible space and wildfire preparedness.

“Even with the best efforts of fire resources; numerous homes are lost within the wildland urban interface due to catastrophic wildfire,” –Michael Schwartz, North Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Chief “Having defensible space should be a priority for homeowners and renters for several reasons. Defensible space not only keeps your home safe from wildfire, but also your neighbor’s home safe.  Additionally, defensible space is significant for the protection of firefighters defending your home.”

Involved Tahoe residents are a key component to the success of the Tahoe Network. All residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin are encouraged to step up, become leaders, and help prepare their neighborhoods for wildfire. Neighborhood leaders work with community coordinators and fire district personnel, sharing information with neighbors about ember vulnerabilities and defensible space, hosting workshops, and celebrating the work being done. Empowering Tahoe residents to stand with confidence in the face of wildland fire is one of the fundamental outcomes of the program.

The Tahoe Network has myriad landscaping resources to help you incorporate defensible space into your property, as well as vetted lists of contractors who can do the work. Additionally, local fire protection districts provide free defensible space evaluations and chipping services. Please contact your local fire protection district or our community coordinator for more information.

The Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities program is part of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team, and aims to raise wildfire awareness and empower residents to take action to reduce their wildfire risk. For more information on Fire Adapted Communities and how you can help protect your home and community from wildfire, please contact our community coordinator at: eosgood@tahoercd.org 530.543.1501 ext. 114

 

 

Tahoma Site Photo 5

Tahoe Stormwater Data Live on Web

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The Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) is pleased to announce the launch of a new interactive Monitoring Dashboard on Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s (TRPA) Lake Tahoe (LT) Info website. This pubic-facing portal allows users to browse stormwater monitoring sites and displays summarized stormwater runoff data from around the Tahoe Basin. Sitka Technology Group out of Portland, Oregon is the principal developer of LT Info.

The intent of LT Info is to improve and streamline environmental and community decision-making and build public awareness of environmental and socio-economic conditions in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The first phase of LT Info development included the Environmental Improvement Program Tracker, the Parcel Tracker, and the Sustainability Dashboard. As the LT Info website matured with the refinement of these original applications, more environmental managers were excited to showcase their programs on LT Info.

The next application to be developed was Stormwater Tools, which allows local jurisdictions to report on their progress towards meeting Total Maximum Daily Load credits. The inclusion of Stormwater Tools prompted Andrea Buxton, Stormwater Program Manager at the Tahoe RCD, to contact the TRPA to be included in the development of the website. Tahoe RCD, in collaboration with local jurisdictions, scientists, and stormwater regulators, developed the Lake Tahoe Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSWMP). RSWMP collects stormwater runoff data at eleven long-term monitoring stations around Lake Tahoe. The objective is to be able to measure improvement in stormwater quality over time as more environmental improvement projects are implemented in urban areas.

“The LT Info platform provided the ideal opportunity for us to showcase the results of the stormwater runoff monitoring we have been doing over the last four years. We want RSWMP data to be easily accessible to the local jurisdictions, the regulators, and the general public so that the positive effects of all the time and money spent on environmental improvement can be recognized” says Buxton.

By linking LT Info directly to the recently completed RSWMP Data Management System, developed by Geosyntec Consultants in Portland, Oregon and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, with a seamless system-to-system connection, LT Info became a platform to display complicated stormwater monitoring data in easy to interpret formats for everyone from stormwater program managers,to regulators, project funders, and the general public, to use for their unique and individual purposes.

RSWMP is the first monitoring program to be incorporated into the Monitoring Dashboard. The TRPA is anticipating that the Monitoring Dashboard will include many other monitoring programs in the future. This will deepen the integration of various environmental monitoring and tracking programs around the Lake Tahoe Basin and increase the value of the data for decision makers.

“We are really excited about how much potential the Monitoring Dashboard has to connect actions to outcomes through the platform” says Jeanne McNamara, LT Info Platform Coordinator at the TRPA.
Please visit https://monitoring.laketahoeinfo.org/RSWMP to browse the beautiful displays and gain a better understanding of what managers are doing to work toward achieving Lake Clarity goals.

Aquatic Invasive Species Trivia Night

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So you think you know about AIS? Join us Wednesday June 28th at Moe’s in Tahoe City from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m for trivia, fun, prizes, food, and drinks.

Gain a leg up on the competition and a free drink ticket by joining us from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Trivia will start promptly at 6 p.m. 

For Facebook invite information click here

AIS Trivia Night Flyer_Web

Tahoe RCD Records Largest Stormwater Flows at Monitoring Sites

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SW Press ReleaseThe early storm event that began on January 7 with over 5 inches of rain in some regions of the Lake Tahoe Basin before turning to snow, delivered a massive amount of runoff to the Lake in a short period of time. During this storm event the Tahoe RCD Stormwater Monitoring Program measured the highest flows ever recorded at all eight monitoring locations since monitoring began in 2013.  Our Tahoe Valley site, located off Tahoe Keys Blvd, measured 1.5 million cubic feet of flow, nearly 90% of the flow that was observed throughout the whole 2016 water year! 

The Tahoe RCD monitors urban stormwater runoff around the Lake Tahoe Basin, providing the science that helps guide stormwater managers in environmental improvement project design and informs them if projects and management strategies have been successful in reducing pollutant loading to Lake Tahoe.  Each stormwater sample is analyzed for fine sediment particles (FSP), nitrogen, and phosphorus to estimate nutrient and sediment loading from urban stormwater runoff. This last storm produced over 18 million gallons of runoff just from the sites we monitor alone. All data collected throughout a “water year”, October to September, is compiled into an annual monitoring report, given to stormwater managers and posted on the Tahoe RCD website. With successful implementation of environmental improvement projects that promote infiltration of runoff before it gets discharged to the lake, we have had the pleasure of retiring two of our urban stormwater monitoring sites as we saw significant reductions in pollutant loading from these locations.

The Stormwater Monitoring Program is continuously looking for ways to improve stormwater monitoring efforts.  New for the 2017 monitoring season, the majority of our sites were outfitted with remote monitoring equipment, allowing us to monitor these sites with smartphones.  The new remotely accessible equipment effectively allows our team to view what is happening at our monitoring sites in real time, and determine the best way to manage each individual site during storm events. Our scientific monitoring team is deployed in the most inclement of weather, because good science doesn’t take a break. The severity of this recent storm brought downed trees, dangerous road conditions, and a wealth of water.  However, with these remote monitoring systems in place, our team was able to monitor all of our sites without making extensive trips into the field from the safety and comfort of our homes. This new remote technology allows for more reliable data management and easier data reporting.

Discover our monitoring locations or view our 2016 Annual Monitoring Report. Follow us on facebook.com/tahoercd to stay up to date on our monitoring activities.

CSV_flowering Eurasian watermilfoil

Headway made in fight against aquatic invasive plants

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Lake Tahoe, CA

In 2010, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), in collaboration with the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program, began treatment of approximately six acres of aquatic invasive plants in the nearshore by Vikingsholm in the iconic Emerald Bay. The control methods included bottom barriers, which kill plants by eliminating light, and diver-assisted suction removal, which physically removes plants and roots. After four years of comprehensive treatment, Emerald Bay remains free of aquatic invasive plants.

Using this integrated approach, other locations around the Lake Tahoe Basin are being addressed. An Implementation Plan for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species within Lake Tahoe developed by University of Nevada Reno in 2015 is guiding the way. The Implementation Plan uses an ecological and scientifically-based framework to determine site prioritization, which calls for controlling satellite populations in an effort to achieve containment. In 2016 Tahoe RCD treated 4.5 acres at Lakeside Marina and Beach, Crystal Shores marinas, Fleur du Lac’s outer harbor and in the Truckee River. This winter a new infestation at the Tahoe Vista boat launch will be tackled. Treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil is important for water quality because the invasive plant raises pH, decreases oxygen, and increases water temperature, all of which alter the ecosystem and negatively impact recreation and public safety.

“From our efforts in Emerald Bay, we know that invasive plant populations can be reduced, and with continued treatments, we will be able to better manage populations around the lake in the future,” said Tahoe RCD District Manager Kim Boyd.

Tahoe RCD anticipates the continuation of aquatic plant control efforts in Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River for years to come. While bottom barriers and diver-assisted suction removal have proven to be successful, there is a need to identify other techniques that could help us get ahead of the battle, particularly with persistent plant species such as curlyleaf pondweed. The potential to use ultra-violet light will increase the effective techniques available to Tahoe RCD especially in low water years and in tight spaces within marinas. Ultra-violet light has proven in lab studies and small field tests to damage the DNA and cellular structure of aquatic plants causing it to die back. Tahoe RCD will continue to work with partners this winter to finalize environmental documentation and permitting so UV light can be tested in Lake Tahoe in 2017.

“We are excited about working with our partners to explore new technology that can be added to the toolbox,” said Boyd, “A project using UV light to reduce aquatic plant infestations is being developed and is expected to launch in spring 2017.”

Funding for these projects has been provided by the Truckee River Fund, the Tahoe Fund, the Rotary Club of Tahoe City, California Tahoe Conservancy, and Nevada Division of State Lands.