Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Johnson Meadow

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  • Where is Johnson Meadow?
  • Johnson Meadow is situated in the heart of the city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, California. It is located within the Upper Truckee River watershed, the largest watershed in the Lake Tahoe Basin, draining over 56 square miles and providing some of the most significant wet meadow floodplain habitat in the entire Sierra Nevada. Tahoe RCD recently acquired title to approximately 206 acres comprising the Johnson Meadow property in order to provide continuous public ownership of the lower nine miles of the Upper Truckee River (UTR) before the river enters Lake Tahoe. This nine-mile reach of the UTR is centered downstream of property owned by the City of South Lake Tahoe and California Department of Parks and Recreation (Washoe Meadows State Park) and upstream of the Upper Truckee Marsh, owned by the California Tahoe Conservancy.  Johnson Meadow is situated in the floodplain of the UTR and was the largest privately-owned meadow in the Tahoe Basin.

    Upper Truckee River - Johnson Meadow

  • Why must encroachments be resolved?
  • The effects of encroachments on this former ranch property are detrimental both publicly and environmentally.  Public access is compromised anytime public lands are modified to resemble private property, through landscaping, lawns, fenced areas, storage of personal property, structures or parking. In addition, encroachments often damage soils and vegetation, leading to the degradation of the hydrologic functions these lands are intended to preserve. In some cases, encroachments interfere with planned hazardous fuels or hazard tree abatement projects or restoration efforts and must be resolved prior to management. Essentially, this is now public land and needs to remain accessible to the public.
  • How are encroachments resolved?
  • When an encroachment onto Johnson Meadow has been identified, the Tahoe RCD informs the responsible property owner and requests removal of the encroachment and termination of the prohibited activity. In most cases encroachments are resolved through an administrative process involving written notification and on-site meetings with Tahoe RCD staff. Some situations may warrant legal action if compliance does not occur by a specified date issued, or if significant damage to public lands has occurred. It is the responsibility of property owners to know their property boundary location and ensure their property does not extend beyond that line..

Our priorities for Johnson Meadow

The board and staff of the Tahoe RCD are committed to restoring, stewarding, and managing the iconic Johnson Meadow property in ways that:

View our full Johnson Meadow Planning Approach developed along with our strategic planning process in March 2018.

Johnson Meadow - Dry

Johnson Meadow (Aerial) - Winter