TRPA is helping Lake Tahoe property owners to Get Defensive!
(Click here) to learn how you can become a local hero by defending your property before a fire starts.
BMPs and Defensible Space
BMPs and Defensible Space work together and whenever possible, wise homeowners choose to combine the work of both to help their properties become a working part of the ecosystem. Historically, Lake Tahoe's forests had far fewer trees and little fuel on the forest floor that could carry fire up in a ladder effect to the tops of trees. Low temperature fires burned the forest floor regularly keeping the forest healthy and lightly stocked. Soil below the trees was covered with decomposing pine needles and light vegetation. This kept the soil in place and from running into streams and the Lake.
(click here) to view a brochure on the natural fit of BMPs and Defensible Space.
Today, the forest is overcrowded and brush and small trees compete with larger trees for water and sunlight. Also, impervious surfaces like homes, driveways and roads abound and many homeowners clear their land to bare soil. Many other homeowners prefer leaving their property "as is" thinking brush, fallen limbs and pine cone litter are natural and safe.
If you choose to leave pine needles over bare soil to protect Lake Tahoe's famed clarity, please rake them once in the Spring and let them fall through the rest of the year. TRPA and local fire protection agencies are in agreement that handling pine needles this way is both defensible and a good BMP (Best Management Practice).
There is more to BMPs and Defensible Space than ground cover, however, and there are lot of choices available when it comes to making your home or business a working part of the ecosystem. Property owners should leave a five-foot "moat" of gravel or other non-combustible surface around all structures so that flames from a surface fire cannot ignite them. It's no mystery that gravel trenches are also recommended under roof eaves to infiltrate stormwater coming off drip lines. There is a natural fit for fire safety and erosion control techniques.
The rest of your property should have lean, healthy vegetation kept so that it can't carry fire into tree branches. And any stormwater should be captured and filtered before it leaves your property. Fire protection agencies and conservation districts offer free evaluations to all homeowners at Lake Tahoe and that's the best way to know exactly what you need to do to protect the Lake, your neighbors and yourself.
Contact the TRPA Erosion Control Team for assistance with Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater control. Call (775) 589-5257.
For help with Defensible Space inspections, contact your local fire protection district or the TRPA forester at (775) 589-5244.
The Big Picture
TRPA is Changing for the Better. The Agency believes that Lake Tahoe’s pristine environment can be protected without sacrificing economic health and quality of life for the people who live and visit here. Our goal is to create a healthy, sustainable place that will be enjoyed for generations to come. TRPA recognizes the importance of improving the environment as well as the economy and the social well being of our community. The Agency has made a commitment to improving public service and relying on the latest scientific information to guide policy decisions. To ensure the highest level of service and to adapt to changes in the Tahoe Basin, TRPA re-evaluates its programs annually and sets five-year targets.
Why TRPA Exists
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is a unique entity created by a Compact
between the states of Nevada and California, sanctioned by the U.S. Congress, to protect and restore the environment of Lake Tahoe. The Compact defines the
extent of TRPA’s authority and purpose.
Vision and Mission
Our vision is to have a lake and environment that is clean, healthy and
sustainable for the community and future generations. Our mission is to
cooperatively lead the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique
natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future.
What We Do
its mandate, the TRPA created and adopted a set of “environmental threshold
carrying capacities” (thresholds) for the Region in 1982. The Compact directs
the Agency to meet and maintain the thresholds and authorizes it to work through a variety of means including land use regulations, growth management, capital improvement programs, and resource management plans.
Core ValuesEnvironmental Protection
As TRPA staff carries out its mission, these are the beliefs and values guiding our actions and policies:
Public Service & Professionalism
Teamwork & Collaboration
The TRPA Community Liaison acts as on ombudsman so that public input and community concerns receive our full attention and your questions get answered.
To contact Jeff Cowen, the Community Liaison, call (775) 589-5278
or email him at email@example.com.