News Briefs

Animal Services Seeks Community Help in Adopting and Reunifying Dogs


Nearing shelter capacity for dogs, Placer County Animal Services is seeking community support to adopt dogs and reunify lost dogs with their owners. More than 90% of dog kennels are full, with more dogs arriving each day. As a result, dogs are being doubled up in kennels or housed in overflow areas such as exercise yards to make space. 

Through May 14, Placer County Animal Services is: 

  • Waiving redemption fees for first-time animal impounds. The shelter may even be able to transport the pet back home if needed.
  • Offering free spay/neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations for all redeemed pets; and
  • Offering discounted $10 adoptions for dogs and cats.

Many lost dogs are not being recovered at the Animal Services Center, which is contributing to overcrowding. Lost pets can be viewed on the county website

If a member of the public finds a dog, the following tips help reunite the pet with its owner prior to bringing it to the shelter:  

  • Hold onto the dog for at least 48 hours. Studies have found that 85% of lost pets who were held for 48 hours were returned home, as opposed to 26% of pets taken directly to the shelter.
  • Knock on doors in the neighborhood where the pet was found or talk to people in the neighborhood who are out and about.  
  • Post found pet fliers in the neighborhood and report the found pet online using,,,, local Facebook groups, and
  • Alert Placer County Animal Services at (530) 886-5500 if you are unable to locate an owner and need assistance from the shelter.

Creating additional strain, many adoptable pets are waiting longer for adoption — the majority of the dogs currently available for adoption have already been at the shelter for 30 days or longer, and shelter stays for dogs are trending 25% longer this year compared to last. Longer stays result in more stress on an animal, and potential behavioral or medical issues as a result. 

Members of the public who aren’t able to adopt a pet but are willing to foster a dog can also email 

Placer County Animal Services can be found at 11232 B Ave. in Auburn; online at; and at (530) 886-5540. 

~ Placer County Animal Services press release

Dispersed Camping Restrictions along Highway 20


To protect natural and cultural resources and to provide for public safety, dispersed camping will be restricted on Tahoe National Forest lands along Highway 20 from May 2, 2022, to May 2, 2025. The restrictions are for dispersed camping only and do not apply to developed campgrounds.

“The recent increase in dispersed camping along Highway 20 has created significant public safety risks, including hazardous waste that threatens human health and water quality,” said Gerald Parker, patrol captain on the TNF. “There have also been multiple instances of illegal campfires associated with dispersed camping, which increase the risk of a human-caused wildfire.”

 The restrictions prohibit the following acts:

  1. Camping within a half mile of the centerline of California Highway 20 between Nevada County mileposts 23 and 26 on lands administered by the TNF.
  2. Camping within a half mile from the centerline of Forest Road No. 20-003 (Conservation Camp Road or Marsh Tract Road) on lands administered by the TNF. The closure begins at the junction of Forest Road No. 20-003 (Conservation Camp Road or Marsh Tract Road) and California Highway 20 and continues west to the terminus of the road at the Washington Ridge Camp.
  3. Camping within a quarter mile of the centerline of California Highway 20 between Nevada County milepost 26 and the junction of I-80 on lands administered by the TNF.

The following persons are exempt from this order:

  1. Any federal, state, or local officer or member of an organization rescue or fire-fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  2. Persons with forest service permit number FS-7700-48 (permit for use of roads, trails, or areas restricted by regulation or order), specifically exempting them from this order.
  3. Fee-paying campers at the White Cloud Developed Campground or the Skillman Developed Campground while the facilities are open to the public.

A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 

For the order and map of the areas indicated, please visit

~ TNF press release

ANNE HEGGLI of the Desert Research Institute digs through deep snow to reach a monitoring site during a 2019 field project at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Laboratory in the Tahoe National Forest. Heggli is the lead author of a new study advancing efforts to create a decision support tool for reservoir operators and flood managers. Photo courtesy M. Heggli

Study Develops Framework for Forecasting Contribution of Snowpack to Flood Risk


In the Sierra Nevada, midwinter rain-on-snow events occur when rain falls onto existing snowpack and have resulted in some of the region’s biggest and most damaging floods. Rain-on-snow events are projected to increase in size and frequency in the coming years, but little guidance exists for water resource managers on how to mitigate flood risk during times of rapidly changing snowpack. Their minute-by-minute decisions during winter storms can have long-lasting impacts to people, property, and water supplies. 

A new study by a team from the Desert Research Institute, University of California, Berkeley, the National Weather Service, and the University of Nevada, Reno, provides the first framework for a snowpack decision support tool that could help water managers prepare for potential flooding during rain-on-snow events, using hourly data from existing snow monitoring stations.

To develop a testable framework for a decision support tool, DRI graduate assistant and lead author Anne Heggli and her colleagues used hourly soil moisture data from UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory from 2006 to 2019 to identify periods of terrestrial water input. Next, they developed quality control procedures to improve model accuracy. From their results, they learned lessons about midwinter runoff that can be used to develop the framework for a more broadly applicable snowpack runoff decision support tool. 

“We know the condition (cold content) of the snowpack leading into a rain-on-snow event can either help mitigate or exacerbate flooding concerns,” said study co-author Tim Bardsley of the National Weather Service in Reno. “The challenge is that the simplified physics and lumped nature of our current operational river forecast models struggle to provide helpful guidance here. This research and framework aims to help fill that information gap.”

Heggli is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at UNR, and has been working under the direction of DRI faculty advisor Benjamin Hatchett, Ph.D., to advance her long-term goal of creating a decision support tool for reservoir operators and flood managers. 

The results of this study can next be used to develop Basin-specific decision support systems that will provide real-time guidance for water resource managers. The study results will also be used in a new project with the Nevada Department of Transportation. The full text of the study, Toward snowpack runoff decision support, is available from iScience:

~ DRI press release

Donner Pass Road Construction Commences for 2022


Work on Donner Pass Road is scheduled to begin in May, or as soon as the weather permits, to rehabilitate and widen the shoulders on 6.5 miles of Donner Pass Road.

The project, which began in May 2020, is expected to be completed this August. The majority of the remaining work will include paving Donner Pass Road from Rainbow Bridge to the Town of Truckee limits. Nevada County anticipates this section of the road to be closed during the week (Monday through Friday). Additionally, there will be some repaving work near the intersection of Soda Springs Road. To find periodic updates about the project, visit

~ Nevada County enews

Boat Ramp to Remain Closed to Motorized Boats Due to Low Water Levels


Due to continued low water levels, the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area boat ramp will remain closed to motorized boats for the 2022 boating season. 

The North Tahoe Public Utility District, which owns and operates the ramp, will continue to offer launch access to non-motorized crafts such as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards that can be carried to the water and launched without a vehicle and trailer. Before launch, paddlers are encouraged to perform a self-assessment for aquatic invasive species. 

As of April 29, the Lake Tahoe water level at the TVRA boat launch measured 6,224.27 feet, 1 foot lower than measured at the same time last year. The minimum water level for motorized vessels to launch is 6,226.5 feet, more than 2 feet above the current water level. 

All other lakeside amenities at the TVRA will remain open, including the beach and swimming area, picnic areas, public restrooms, and scenic overlook. The district’s seasonal kayak and stand-up paddleboard concessionaire will also operate as normal, beginning in May.

Those looking to launch motorized vessels are encouraged to seek alternative launch locations. For information on available motorized launch facilities and Lake Tahoe’s Aquatic Invasive Species boat inspection program, please visit

~ NTPUD press release 

Cal Fire Establishes New Division to Assist Local Communities Prepare for Wildfires


As California continues to increase its focus on fire prevention and community readiness for wildfires, Cal Fire has established the Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division within the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The new division follows the passage of Assembly Bill 9, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood in 2021, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

In April, Cal Fire Director Joe Tyler appointed Chief Daniel Berlant as deputy director to lead the new division. Previously Berlant led the department’s Wildfire Planning and Engineering Program and worked in various fire prevention and public engagement positions within the organization for nearly two decades. 

The Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division will allow Cal Fire to continue to develop, prioritize, and implement strategies and projects that create fire-adapted communities and landscapes by improving community preparedness, fire resilience in a local and regional capacity, as well as reducing the severity and damage caused by wildfires. This division consolidates existing department programs, including defensible space, wildland building codes and home hardening, pre-fire planning, fire hazard severity zones, land use planning, wildfire prevention grants, and utility wildfire mitigation. In addition, the new division will be expanding the local technical assistance it provides to cities and counties to ensure they have the best available measures, practices, support, and funding to prepare their communities against wildfires. 

To learn more about how you can be prepared for wildfire, visit For more information on the Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division, visit

~ Cal Fire press release

Nonprofits Invite Public’s Vote On New Sculpture Design 


Following the unprecedented year-long scuba clean-up of Lake Tahoe by Clean Up the Lake, the Tahoe Fund, with support from Tahoe Blue Vodka, commissioned artists to create a sculpture using some of the recovered items from the Lake. Surfaced, a permanent art installation, will be featured at the new Tahoe South Events Center to educate visitors about what lies beneath Tahoe’s blue waters. The nonprofits have launched a contest inviting the public to vote on the endangered animal form the sculpture will take: a Sierra Nevada red fox, Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, or bald eagle holding a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Votes can be cast online until May 20.

The sculpture will be made by internationally recognized artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova by Building 180.

In 2020, Clean Up the Lake partnered with the Tahoe Fund to raise the funds necessary for the first-ever 72-mile scuba clean-up of Lake Tahoe. Thanks to a matching $100,000 donation from Tahoe Blue Vodka, $25,000 from Vail Resorts, more than 135 Tahoe Fund donors, Nevada Division of State Land’s Lake Tahoe License Plate Program, and other grant giving agencies, the dive team started the clean-up on May 14, 2021. The effort is expected to be completed on May 10.

To vote on the sculpture design, visit

~ Tahoe Fund, Clean Up the Lake press releases

Caltrans Begins Project to Replace Mesh Drapery System on SR-89


Caltrans is alerting motorists to expect a traffic shift and minor delays this week on State Route 89, near Pole Creek Road in Placer County for a rockfall protection construction project.

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, construction crews will work on the nearby mountain slope. The work schedule and traffic delays are subject to change based on the nature of construction activities.

The work is part of a $600,000 project to replace a failed mesh drapery system along the southbound side of the highway. Access Limited Construction of Oceano, San Luis Obispo County, is the prime contractor for the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of June. Weather or other unexpected delays may prolong the construction work.

~ Caltrans press release

Public Participation Encouraged in Destination Stewardship Plan


Lake Tahoe residents, community members, and stakeholders interested in the responsible management of area tourism are invited to take part in workshops this month to create a destination stewardship plan that will balance the needs of Lake Tahoe’s environment, businesses, visitors, and local communities. This new shared strategy will inspire all to take care of Tahoe.

Experts in the field of destination stewardship, including the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Travel Foundation, are helping guide the process to create a shared vision and decision-making framework for sustainable management of tourism and recreation throughout the Lake Tahoe region. Additionally, the team includes South Lake Tahoe-based research firm SMG Consulting and Civitas Advisors, specializing in sustainable funding solutions.

A core team is leading the project, from federal, state, county, and local governmental organizations, as well as businesses, nonprofits, and all four destination organizations that market and manage Lake Tahoe area tourism.

To ensure the plan supports a shared vision for future tourism and recreation, it will draw inspiration from extensive local engagement, including two rounds of public workshops, one-on-one interviews, and focus group meetings with stakeholders like the Washoe Tribe. 

The first round of workshops will invite participants to identify opportunities for increasing the direct benefits of tourism and recreation while addressing the challenges — all toward creating the plan’s vision and mission statements as well as key goals.

Following are the dates, locations, and times of five in-person events:

  • May 16 – North Tahoe Event Center, Kings Beach, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • May 17 – Truckee Tahoe Airport, Truckee, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • May 17 – Parasol Community Foundation, Incline Village, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • May 18 – Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority office, South Shore/Stateline, 6 to 8:00 p.m.
  • May 18 – Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, South Shore/Stateline, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

A sixth virtual workshop will be scheduled following the May workshops. All are invited to register for a workshop, learn more about the planning process, and sign up to receive news about the project, results from workshops, and additional opportunities for feedback at

~ CREST press release

Opening on Placer County Assessment Appeals Board Representing District 5


Placer County is accepting applications to fill a seat on the county Assessment Appeals Board to represent District 5, the eastern portions of Placer, including the Tahoe area.

Assessment Appeals Board members must have a minimum of five years of professional experience in the state of California as a certified public accountant, licensed real estate broker, attorney, or certified and accredited property appraiser.

Members are appointed by the board of supervisors to hear appeals by property owners regarding value assessments made by the Placer County Assessor’s Office.

While the recruitment is for the District 5 representative there is no requirement that applicants live in the district; however, they must live in Placer County.

Assessment Appeals Board positions are a three-year term and members receive a $200 stipend per regularly scheduled meeting, which are held in the board of supervisors chambers in Auburn.

Applications are available here.

~ Placer County press release

Broadband Survey Provides Key Data to Attract Funding


In March, Nevada County residents and businesses were invited to participate in a new survey to assess high-speed internet (or broadband) availability and reliability. The results of the survey will help the county prioritize new broadband projects, apply for funding, and advocate to elected officials and state regulators.

“We set a goal of at least 3,000 survey responses and ended up getting over 4,200,” said Steve Monaghan, the county’s broadband lead and chief information officer. “This is the kind of information that internet service providers will need to build new networks and will help the county secure funding to support those projects.” 

In 2021, the federal government passed legislation that allocated $65 billion dollars for broadband expansion. In July 2021, the California legislature passed SB-156, legislation that makes a historic $6 billion multi-year investment to significantly expand internet access throughout the state. Up to $75 million of that funding has been set aside for internet service providers serving Nevada County. They can apply for funds through a competitive grant process administered by the California Public Utilities Commission. County officials are preparing to support ISPs during that application process to position them for success.

What the county is doing to expand internet access:

  • Fund additional rounds of the county’s last-mile grant program
  • Develop a line extension grant program
  • Develop a programmatic environmental impact report, which will help expedite future broadband projects in the county
  • Continue communication with internet service providers to track potential opportunities for partnership
  • Ensure the county is in the best position to access new state and federal broadband funding
  • Update broadband strategic plan

Survey results and more information on the county’s broadband expansion efforts can be found at or

~ Nevada County press release

Grading Season Commences with TRPA Customer Service Improvements


With the May 1 start of grading and digging season in the Tahoe Basin now passed, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is highlighting how virtual operations and permit streamlining this building season will help customer service while achieving regional environmental goals.

The challenges of the past two years have brought forward improved services at TRPA, including an appointment system, virtual meetings, and online and virtual site inspections. The improved efficiency helped planners process a record 1,156 permit applications in 2021, with more than 75% of them submitted entirely online. These permit applications lead to more properties implementing water quality and other environmental improvements that benefit the region.

Applicants can also often get a TRPA permit from their local building or planning department, which further streamlines building projects.

To support the appointment system and virtual services, TRPA is currently redesigning its front office in Stateline to add more one-on-one meeting space and improve accessibility. Front counter service will be replaced by planner appointments, pre-application consultations, online submittals, and virtual services. During the front office redesign, TRPA is open and serving customers by email, phone, and appointment.

The agency is also reminding Lake Tahoe property owners that grading and digging season for permitted projects began on May 1 and continues through Oct. 15. Grading projects are confined to drier months to protect Lake Tahoe’s water quality from sources of erosion and sediment. Working in dry conditions prevents loose soil and mud from washing away from project sites, into streams, and ultimately into Lake Tahoe.

Not all digging requires a permit. Homeowners can move up to 3 cubic yards of soil if the site is stabilized to prevent erosion. More information is available at under grading.

~ TRPA press release

Business Briefs

Palisades Tahoe Extends Season to May 30


Palisades Tahoe’s closing date has been extended to Monday, May 30, due to late spring storms that brought more than 7 feet of snow to the Sierra. In April, 86 inches of new snow fell on the upper mountain, more snow than was seen in all of November, January, February, and March combined. As of May 1, the resort is open Friday through Sunday only, plus Memorial Day Monday. Guests should note that the Alpine side of the resort closed on Sunday, April 17, and will not reopen. 

For up-to-date information on terrain offerings, check the frequently updated operations blog and follow Mountain Operations on Twitter.

~ Palisades press release

Spot Partnership Offers New Benefits for Gravity Haus Members


Gravity Haus, the rapidly growing social club for modern adventurers and purchaser of Truckee’s Cedar House Sport hotel, announced on May 2 a new partnership with Spot, the tech startup offering subscription-based, on-demand injury insurance. Eligible Gravity Haus members will receive 12 months of accident insurance coverage, providing up to $25,000 per accident with zero deductible for injuries incurred while alpine skiing, snowboarding, nordic skiing, backcountry skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, road cycling, climbing, water sports, and more.

Spot is the first and only company to offer this type of customized active-lifestyle accident insurance, and Gravity Haus is the first and only membership community in the U.S. to provide this unique and innovative coverage as a benefit for participating members.

Unlike other insurance programs, the Gravity Haus member benefit is one-of-kind because it is not tied to any specific location(s), winter season pass, or single sport/activity. Spot covers the Gravity Haus active lifestyle anywhere (domestically and internationally), while the member is participating in any of the qualifying activities which, by design, include most of the Gravity Haus members’ most popular outdoor adventures. View a full list on

Qualifying Gravity Haus members who purchase any 12-month membership and pay in full receive a 12-month accident insurance policy with Spot at no additional cost (a $300 value). Participating Gravity Haus members can add family members to their Spot account for just $60 a year. And all other Gravity Haus members have the option to add on a 12-month accident policy for just $120 per year. Terms apply.

Spot fills in the gaps left by health insurance companies by covering up to $25,000 of accidental medical expenses in the event of a member’s injury. Spot can be used with or without traditional health insurance, and has no insurance network restrictions.

Spot coverage allows Gravity Haus members to receive treatment at any licensed physician, hospital, or urgent care clinic. Once they receive their first bill, they can file a claim through Spot’s website by taking pictures of the bill on their phones, explaining how they were injured, and answering a few other questions. After quick communications through email and chat, Spot’s claims team coordinates payment via check to the visitor or their healthcare provider.

Gravity Haus offers four membership levels, starting at just $70 a month for 12 months. Learn more:

~ Gravity Haus press release


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