Best in Basin Award Winners Announced

Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency this week announced and recognized award recipients for its annual Best in the Basin program.

This is the 25th year for the Best in the Basin program. TRPA created the program to recognize and showcase projects that demonstrate exceptional planning, design, and compatibility with Lake Tahoe’s environment and communities.

The projects that were recognized upgraded highways, built new bike trails, improved water quality, restored environmentally-sensitive areas, remodeled blighted commercial buildings, and created defensible space for better wildfire protection.

The Best in the Basin award winners are:

Environmental Improvement Program/Public Project Category

  • Bijou Erosion Control Project: South Lake Tahoe and multiple partner agencies created this area-wide stormwater system to capture, treat, and infiltrate urban runoff from the 42-acre Bijou Commercial Core. The system will reduce stormwater pollution from the area by an estimated 96 percent. It also creates a commercial facilities district, allowing heavily-constrained properties to pay an annual assessment for system maintenance in exchange for a Best Management Practices certificate from TRPA.
  • Harrison Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project: South Lake Tahoe and private property owners completed this comprehensive project to overhaul Harrison and Riverside avenues with improved roadways, sidewalks, bike trails, parking, landscaping, and street lighting. The project revitalized an important commercial area adjacent to the popular Lakeview Commons site. Property owners can pay an annual assessment and tie into the area’s new stormwater treatment system in exchange for a BMP certificate.
  • Highway 50 Water Quality Improvement Project: Caltrans upgraded nearly two miles of highway between Lake Tahoe Airport and the “Y” intersection in South Lake Tahoe. This multiple-partner, multiple-benefit project included water quality improvements as well as new and improved sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, and road signs.
  • Lake Tahoe Boulevard Enhancement Project: El Dorado County and partner agencies built 1.7-miles of Class 1 bike path along the west side of Lake Tahoe Boulevard from Viking Road to Sawmill Road. The path connects residential areas to South Tahoe High School and the Transit Center at the “Y” intersection in South Lake Tahoe, creating an important new link in this area’s bike path network. A second phase of the project will continue the trail to Meyers.
  • State Route 207/Kingsbury Grade Reconstruction Project: Nevada Department of Transportation overhauled this highway corridor to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and install wider road shoulders for bicyclists. It also built a new trailhead and road crossing for the Tahoe Rim Trail. The project’s innovative construction approach allowed work to be completed in one year instead of three.

Water Quality Improvement Category

  • Kingswood 500 Tank/120 Booster Pump Demolition and Griff Creek Restoration Project: North Tahoe Public Utility District removed an aging 500,000 gallon water tank, booster pump station, and access road from a Stream Environment Zone on Griff Creek and restored the floodplain and native vegetation. The project removed 10,000 square feet of coverage and restored wetland, meadow, and other riparian plant communities along Griff Creek.
  • Smith BMP Retrofit Project: Basile Management Practice and property owner James Smith improved a compacted dirt driveway and parking area at this lakefront home in Tahoma. They installed rock-lined bio swales to treat stormwater runoff, created a grass paver overflow parking area, and landscaped the site with native vegetation.

Building and General Construction Category

  • SUP Tahoe – South Shore Bikes Project: David Goldman Environmental Architecture and property owners Jessica Howitt and Brandon Miller remodeled a blighted and abandoned Chinese restaurant on State Route 89 into an attractive new home for this recreation business and its bike and stand up paddleboard shops.

Defensible Space/Forest Health Category

  • Incline Pines Homeowners Association Defensible Space Project: Homeowners in this Incline Village neighborhood partnered with Rockwood Tree Service and Defensible Space Specialists and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District to create defensible space through the entire neighborhood. The project is a great example for other Lake Tahoe neighborhoods who want to be better prepared for wildfire.

Sustainability/Community Benefit Category

  • Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation Community House Project: Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Placer County, and many community partners overhauled a blighted and abandoned hotel in Kings Beach into a Community House for social services previously scattered around the North Shore, including North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Project Mana food bank, Tahoe Safe Alliance, Placer County Mental Health Services, and the Women-Infant Children’s Project. These groups and agencies are now located in this one attractive building, making for easier referrals among programs and better community service.

The nomination period for the 2015 Best in the Basin awards program runs from now until March 31, 2016. To be eligible, projects must be complete and have their security returned by December 31, 2015. For an entry form and more information about the program, please visit www.trpa.org/get-involved/best-in-basin/.

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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