2015 Summit Focuses on Wildfire, Invasive Species Threats

Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – At the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Summit on Monday, August 24, California and Nevada officials and members of the two states’ federal delegation touted the success of work to restore Lake Tahoe’s environment, and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to protect the Jewel of the Sierra from threats such as wildfire and aquatic invasive species.

“By working together we can secure a healthy and prosperous future for the entire Tahoe Basin,” said U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada), who hosted the event at the Round Hill Pines Beach Resort in Zephyr Cove.

Speaking at the summit, Heller and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) discussed their introduction of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that has been co-sponsored by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Barbara Boxer (D-California).

If approved, the Senate version of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act would authorize up to $415 million in federal funding over 10 years to help pay for critical projects to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health, reduce stormwater pollution, improve water quality, and combat aquatic invasive species at Tahoe.

Since 1997, about $1.8 billion has been invested into projects to restore Tahoe’s environment and improve its public recreation opportunities through the Environmental Improvement Program. That includes $593.4 million in federal funding, $693.4 million in California funding, $118.8 million in Nevada funding, $77.1 million in local government funding, and $328.3 million in private sector funding.

“One billion, 800 million has been invested into this lake and it has made a difference,” Feinstein said, adding that passage of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act and continued federal investment in the Region would help ensure environmental restoration progress continues. “We have a good bill. It’s $415 million for Tahoe,” she said. “So I hope everyone will support that bill because it is so necessary.”

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-California) has also introduced a version of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act in the House of Representatives. Co-sponsored by Congressman Mark Amodei (R-Nevada), that bill would authorize up to $60 million in federal funding over 10 years, primarily for projects to reduce hazardous fuels in the extensive national forest land around Lake Tahoe.

“A super fire could decimate the Basin and its environment for a generation to come,” McClintock said. “We should all realize how desperately important and how urgent the need for action has become.”

California Governor Jerry Brown and Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison applauded the ongoing collaboration to restore the environment and improve public recreation at Tahoe, noting how California and Nevada are working together to preserve a shared natural resource at Tahoe. “It’s incredible,” Brown said.

Congressman John Garamendi (D-California) said continued collaboration is needed for the success that has been seen at Tahoe to continue. “We all have our roles in this,” Garamendi said. “All of us are dedicated to the future of this lake, and because of that it will be blue forever.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Tom Lotshaw, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.

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