News Briefs

USFWS Announces $3.4 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funds 

LAKE TAHOE

The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded $3.4 million in funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for cooperative agreements with the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe. The funding represents a historic effort dedicated to restoring the Lake Tahoe Basin ecosystem and emphasizes the administration’s commitment to inclusive engagement with Tribes, partners, and stakeholders. 

The agreements will support efforts to remove the Eurasian watermilfoil a pernicious aquatic invasive plant as well as provide funding for public outreach and education about aquatic invasive species, and investments in permanent inspection stations. A total of $17 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will be available for such work over the next five years.

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“Our ongoing collaboration with Tribal leaders and local partners is crucial to successful implementation of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “As stewards of public lands, we’re grateful for ongoing commitments to invest in communities like Lake Tahoe. Today’s investment will further safeguard a region that holds deep cultural and ecological significance.” 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes a $1.4 billion investment in ecosystem restoration and resilience across the country, supporting collaboration with states, Tribes, and local communities to restore habitat connectivity for aquatic species, advance habitat restoration and invasive species control, and conserve at-risk and listed species.

Located on Washoe ancestral lands, Lake Tahoe holds significant cultural importance for the Washoe Tribe and is part of the historic range of Lahontan cutthroat trout. To oversee restoration efforts in the Lake Tahoe watershed, the Washoe Environmental Protection Department was established in 1998 and has been a key partner in ongoing restoration work.

A popular area for recreation, the Lake Tahoe Basin faces ongoing threats from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Common invasive weeds, like the Eurasian watermilfoil, can significantly disrupt aquatic ecosystems and crowd out native species. Aquatic invasive species management is a top priority of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program, one of the most comprehensive restoration programs in the nation. For the past 15 years, Environmental Improvement Program partners have worked together to stop the spread of invasive species and prevent new aquatic invasive species from entering Lake Tahoe.

The service worked closely with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the multi-partner Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinating Committee to identify priority areas for funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including permanent watercraft inspection stations to aid in prevention. Under the Environmental Improvement Program, Lake Tahoe watercraft more than 100,000 boats have been inspected since 2008. In that time, no new invasive species have been detected in the Tahoe region. 

To strengthen collaboration with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the project team also identified several projects that will increase Tribal engagement and participation in ecosystem restoration efforts and inform future program priorities with traditional perspective and methods.

~ FWS press release 

Tahoe National Forest Implements Stage One Fire Restrictions 

LAKE TAHOE

Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in effect in the Tahoe National Forest due to ongoing drought and warming conditions. Under these restrictions, the public can still build or maintain a fire, campfire, or charcoal briquette fire in established fire rings within designated developed campgrounds and day-use sites, but not outside of those areas. Campfires will not be allowed at all Tahoe National Forest recreation sites — a list of designated developed recreation areas is linked below.

Fire rings in developed sites are the best place to enjoy a campfire because they are designed to keep flames contained and are kept clear of debris and vegetation. These sites are also visited regularly by staff and often have a campground host nearby to monitor campfire safety. All of this mitigates the chance of an escaped campfire becoming a wildfire.

The decision to go into fire restrictions is based on a variety of factors. Fire management officials monitor the current wildfire conditions on the forest, fuel moisture levels, and predicted weather to determine when to begin, increase, and rescind fire restrictions.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, the following are prohibited:

  • Building or maintaining a fire, campfire, or charcoal briquette fire outside of established fire rings within designated developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a designated campground or recreation area, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. 
  • Using a motor vehicle off paved, gravel or dirt National Forest System roads and trails, except within a designated developed Off-Highway Vehicle area.

Regardless of conditions and time of year, residents must remain vigilant at all times to avoid human-caused wildfires. Help protect our forests, firefighters, and communities by following these principals when out on forested lands: 

  • Campfires: Attend your campfire at all times. Ensure your fire is completely extinguished: drown with water (NOT dirt), stir with your shovel, drown again, and feel for any heat using the back of your hand. Continue this process until no heat remains. 
  • Stoves: If using pressurized or bottled liquid fuel stoves, lanterns, or heating devices, use in barren areas with at least 3 feet of clearance from grasses and other debris that may catch fire. Prevent stoves from tipping.
  • Vehicles: When traveling, ensure your chains are properly connected. The hot underside of the vehicle and dragging chains can start a fire. Stick to driving on designated roads and trails and be careful to not park your car or OHV in tall, dry, vegetation, including grass. The Tahoe National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map can be found here.
  • Spark Arrestors: Ensure that all internal or external combustion engines have a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order.
  • Flammable Items: Fireworks are prohibited on all national forests year-round, leave them and all other pyrotechnic devices at home. Always use caution with smoking. Extinguish all smoking materials dead out on bare soil. Pack out all cigarette butts and filters.

The full Forest Order and list of designated developed recreation sites can be found here.

~ Tahoe National Forest press release 

TDPUD Reports on Final Settlement Agreement, End of Litigation of vs. Kim Harris

TRUCKEE

Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s legal counsel has reported the close of litigation of TDPUD vs. Harris (Nevada County Superior Court Case Number TCU21-7920). At the Feb. 2 TDPUD board meeting, TDPUD reported from closed session that the board approved a settlement agreement with Kim Harris and disclosed some of the essential terms of the agreement. TDPUD further disclosed that the settlement agreement would not be final until the court approved it. The Nevada County Superior Court approved the settlement agreement at a hearing on May 20, and issued its order that day. The settlement agreement and settlement of the lawsuit are now final. The agreement was negotiated to the mutual satisfaction of the parties; they carefully reviewed the agreement, knew what it contained and entered into it voluntarily, deliberately, informed about its contents and legal effect, without coercion or duress, and based on their own judgment. The essential terms of the settlement agreement and general release include the following:

  1. Harris admitted that she breached the severance agreement with the district.
  2. Harris agreed to comply with the severance agreement in the future.
  3. The district reimbursed Harris for mediation fees she paid.
  4. The board agreed not to seek to have Harris removed from office during her current term based on her admission that she breached the severance agreement.
  5. The court will retain jurisdiction over the settlement agreement for a period of 10 years.
  6. The district agreed to dismiss its complaint with prejudice, which it did on June 7, 2022.
  7. The parties mutually agreed to release and waive all claims against each other.
  8. The parties agreed to a mutual non-disparagement provision; however, that provision does not prevent the parties from truthfully responding to any statements, accusations or comments made by any other person.
  9. The parties complied with Government Code Section 1091 in that the settlement agreement was entered into to resolve litigation, the parties were represented by counsel and Harris did not participate in the making of the agreement in her capacity as a board member.

~ TDPUD press release

VOTE FOR YOU: You can run for office at a local level. Courtesy graphic

Candidate Filing Begins as Election Season Approaches

TRUCKEE

It is said that individuals can make larger impacts to government at the local level, where leaders are accessible at their businesses, their children’s schools, and elsewhere in the community. For the Town of Truckee and numerous special districts in the area, Nov. 8 will be a time when the voters select the leadership of these organizations for the next four years. With  40 seats available in this region for the coming election, there is ample opportunity for you to get more involved in local governance. The Town of Truckee and its special districts have governing bodies that consist of five members. Every two years, either two or three members’ terms are up for consideration on the regular election schedule. Occasionally, members vacate positions mid-term causing additional seats for shorter terms to be available. The town continues to offer assistance to the Nevada County Elections Department by accepting candidate filings for the Nevada County special districts seats. This allows locals to put their hats in the ring for local board and commission seats without having to travel to Nevada City to file their candidate paperwork. The candidate filing period for the November 2022 election opened July 18 and will close Aug. 12 for some seats, while others will extend to Aug. 17 (see the Truckee Town Clerk for specifics). 

A Candidate Filing Night to help with the candidate packets for the Town Council and special district seats will be held on July 25 at 5:30 p.m. For additional information regarding filing, see the Town of Truckee election page.

~ Truckee Town Clerk, Judy Price

BIG BLUEgrass Benefit Concert to Support State Parks

TAHOMA

The fun-filled family concert, Big Bluegrass, is back! On Aug. 5, three diverse bands from northern California will share their music with Lake Tahoe as the background. Broken Compass Bluegrass, Loretta Lynch, and Coburn Station will share their music with concertgoers this year, plus a special guest performance to lead off the show.  The event will be held at Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma; doors open at 4 p.m., with the concert running from 5 to 8 p.m.. Tickets are $35. Skip the line and pre-order tickets here: sierrastateparks.org/event/big-bluegrass-benefit-concert/

A truly unique venue with natural acoustics and an amazing sunset view of the lake, Big Bluegrass has become a West Shore tradition in the past decade. Emcee Kerry Andras will keep the event moving, and the Tahoe Truckee School of Music will provide the sound and lighting, as a learning experience for their students. “Tahoe Truckee School of Music is proud to partner with the Sierra State Parks Foundation; it’s made for the community by the community, a love story bringing people to the parks through a common passion for music” says Ben Martin, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Tahoe Truckee School of Music.

Big Bluegrass began as an acoustic-style bluegrass event, but due to changing audience demographics, this year the event will have an “alt-country” and electric feel to it. To add to the fun, there will be food for sale by Big Blue Q and Hand Dipped Ice Cream. Beer and wine will be for sale for those of legal drinking age. 

This is a benefit put on by the Sierra State Parks Foundation, and all proceeds go to restoration projects and educational programming to support California State Parks. “Parks need your support now more than ever,” said Heidi Doyle, Sierra State Park Foundation executive director. “Big Bluegrass is one way to have a great time at the lake, while giving back to the parks that we all enjoy, year-round.”

~ Sierra State Park press release 

Seven Arrested After Stealing Nearly $2,500 Worth of Groceries From Safeway

TAHOE VISTA

Placer County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of several individuals loading two vehicles with stolen groceries from the Tahoe Vista Safeway. Deputies were given vehicle information by the reporting party which helped them locate the two vehicles nearby. Deputies pulled the vehicles over and conducted a search, which recovered numerous unbagged groceries.

During the investigation, deputies learned that six out of seven of the suspects were employees at the Tahoe Vista Safeway – video surveillance showed the suspects filling multiple carts with groceries – nearly $2,500 worth. The suspects, 21-year-old Stefan Valcu; 19-year-old Radu Bucur; 20-year-old Patrick Bucurean; 20-year-old Daniel Copil; 23-year-old Sorin Uveghes; 21-year-old Flaviu Negru; and 20-year-old Christian Bodea were all arrested for felony burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. 

~ Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post

Local Trails Get a Boost from Tahoe Fund Endowment

TAHOE CITY

With higher usage in the Tahoe region, many existing trails are being loved to death. The Tahoe Fund is hoping to help solve this issue through its Tahoe Trails Endowment. The nonprofit recently awarded $45,000 in grants from the endowment to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association to support trailwork on popular trails in the Tahoe Basin.

The TRTA’s Trail Segment Improvement Program was launched this summer to provide preventative maintenance on the 200-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Every year, the program will include work to repair trail tread, clear downed trees and drainages, fix erosion damage, and decommission braided trails on three segments. This summer, nearly 70 miles of trail along the busiest TRT segments in the Tahoe region will be improved: Big Meadow to Echo Lakes (18.3 miles), Barker Pass to Tahoe City (16.4 miles), and Echo Lakes to Barker Pass (32.5 miles). The work will be completed by volunteer and conservation corp crews.

TAMBA, the first recipient of a Tahoe Trails Endowment grant in 2021, will continue its trail crew maintenance program this year with support from the Tahoe Fund. A five-person paid trail crew will work on a variety of trails around the lake throughout the summer and fall seasons, managing unforeseen needs like removing downed trees, clearing rock fall and addressing erosion issues as they arise around the Basin. TAMBA is on track to perform maintenance on over 100 miles of trail in 2022.  

Established as a way to address the long-term needs of Tahoe’s growing trail network, the Tahoe Fund hopes to grow the Tahoe Trails Endowment to $3 million to fund annual trail maintenance throughout the region. Currently, the endowment is at just over $1 million.

While building the endowment, the Tahoe Fund also continues its work with partners at the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, Truckee Trails Foundation and public land managers to develop a Trails Master Plan that outlines priority ranking for trail work and allows everyone to think and plan long term.

The endowment was launched in late 2020 with a generous $100,000 donation from Chris and Viktoria McNamara. Learn more and contribute to the Tahoe Trails Endowment at tahoefund.org.

~ Tahoe Fund press release 

Fire Agencies Share Defensible Space Steps in Urgent Call to Action

LAKE TAHOE 

With the smoke that recently filled the air, the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency are sharing an urgent call to action for Lake Tahoe area residents and property owners to create defensible space and to follow a few simple steps if tree removal is needed.

Fire agencies, TRPA, and other water quality agencies are in agreement on all defensible space requirements and have developed simple tree removal guidelines to aid property owners in protecting homes and neighborhoods. Defensible space is the area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been managed to reduce the wildfire threat. Creating this space allows firefighters to safely defend the house and could even improve the likelihood of the home surviving without assistance. TFFT Incident Commander and North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Division Chief Isaac Powning says while defensible space sometimes requires a little planning, it should be a top priority for residents.

“Start with the simple things like raking pine needles and moving firewood away from structures,” Powning said. “Getting a free defensible space evaluation from your local fire agency will tell you what is needed, then it’s a matter of breaking it up into manageable projects. Tree removal may be a part of it, but the other recommendations are just as important.”

Following the 3,100-acre Angora Fire in 2007, forest managers, fire agencies, and water quality agencies including TRPA formed the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team to coordinate efforts, streamline policies, and increase the pace and scale of forest health projects. The improved coordination led to some of the preparations that helped firefighters protect Lake Tahoe communities last year when the Caldor Fire entered the basin and burned nearly 10,000 acres.

Most fire-hazard trees and limbs can be removed without a permit. Trees more than 14 inches in diameter and trees in a few specific circumstances require a TRPA permit, which is usually available from the local fire protection district with a defensible space evaluation.

Here is what property owners can do without contacting a permitting agency:

  • Remove and manage brush in the “lean, clean, and green” zone within 30 feet of structures. Brush and smaller trees are ladder fuels, which can carry flames upward from the ground and into the tree canopy.
  • Remove dead limbs, limbs within 10 feet of a chimney outlet, building or deck, and any live limbs in the lower one-third of the tree.
  • Remove live trees less than 14 inches diameter at breast height. Diameter at breast height is measured 4.5 feet above ground on the uphill side of the tree. If unsure, use a string or soft measuring tape to measure around the tree. A 14-inch tree is 43.9 inches around.
  • Remove dead trees. A conifer (pine/fir tree) is considered dead when it doesn’t have any green needles. Deciduous (leafy) trees can be determined dead by a qualified forester.

Outside of these circumstances, the first step is to request a free defensible space evaluation from the local fire district or department. In most cases, defensible space evaluators can issue tree permits on behalf of the TRPA, if needed. Residents, renters, and property owners can find their fire district contacts at tahoelivingwithfire.com.

In sensitive areas, such as stream environment zones and along the lakeshore, vegetation removal should be done in consultation with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency forester. Contact and other information are available at trpa.gov/trees-and-defensible-space/. Tree removal can only be done with permission of the property owner. Information for renters is available at tahoelivingwithfire.com. To report fire hazards on National Forest lots, contact the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit hotline at (530) 543-2759 or email sm.fs.paltbmu@usda.gov. For lots owned by the California Tahoe Conservancy, call (530) 542-5580 or report a concern online at tahoe.ca.gov/report-an-issue. Concerns can also be reported to your local fire district or department.

~ Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team press release 

Business Briefs

DINE UNDER THE SUNSET: The Hyatt Regency offers new lake side dining options. Courtesy photo

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Announces New Lakeside Restaurant

INCLINE VILLAGE

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, the only full-service waterfront resort in North Lake Tahoe, debuts brand new dining options for guests and local residents. The new dining experiences include a lakefront restaurant, The Nest Bar & Grill, and a seasonal Italian food concept called Dondero’s, which is available throughout the summer. The resort’s Cutthroat’s Saloon also debuts a new dining menu.

The Nest Bar & Grill is located on the resort’s private beach near Lone Eagle Grille. The open-air seating showcases the beauty of the location with panoramic views of the lake. It provides lunch service between noon and 5 p.m. and dinner service from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The menu features a selection of beach-inspired fare including gourmet burgers, pork belly and kimchi tacos, breaded crispy chicken tenders, and a variety of house-made salads and starters ranging from ahi tuna poke bowls to spicy Thai seafood salad. The restaurant serves a variety of signature cocktails reflective of the lakefront setting..

Dondero’s is an Italian dinner concept restaurant that will be available in its Sierra Cafe nightly between 5 and 9 p.m. throughout the summer season. The menu features a variety of antipasti and zuppa ranging from pancetta with bison meatballs and heirloom tomato gazpacho, as well as entree selections including pasta Bolognese, ravioli alla primavera, risotto al gamberi, and more. Guests can also enjoy a selection of house-made pizzas including the quatro formaggi, margherita, capriccios, Italian sausage and pepperoni, and white chicken pizza. Reservations for Dondero’s can be made by visiting exploretock.com/donderos-at-sierra-cafe.

The resort’s Cutthroat’s Saloon is also offering an updated menu. New options include a house-made baked pretzel served with spicy white cheddar cheese and honey Dijon sauces, loaded saloon nachos topped with braised chipotle chicken or slow-cooked beef machaca, brisket grilled cheese, and several gourmet soups and salad options. Guests can also select from a variety of craft sandwiches, tacos, burgers, and several house-made pizza options ranging from traditional pepperoni to buffalo chicken toppings.

Learn more about the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, at hyattregencylaketahoe.com or call (775) 832-1234.

~ Hyatt Regency press release

HISTORIC TAHOE INN: Corcoran Global Living’s Moore Team represented the sellers of the historic inn which sold for $3.45 million. Courtesy photo

Corcoran Global Living Team Involved in Historic Sale of Tahoe Inn

TAHOE CITY

The Moore Team from Corcoran Global Living’s Tahoe City North office recently closed escrow on the historic Tahoe Inn, located in downtown Tahoe City. The Moore Team represented the seller and co-listed with Coldwell Banker. The property sold for $3.45 million; the sale is public but is not yet in the MLS.

Built in 1876, the Tahoe Inn is a cornerstone of beautiful Tahoe City’s history. The original building burned down in 1934 but was rebuilt that same year, operating as a year-round inn and restaurant. The two iconic totem poles were added in 1935 for the filming of MGM’s Rose Marie.

In 1974, a train boxcar was added to the back of the house as a restaurant, and the upstairs rooms were converted to office space. In 1997, the owners improved the property with new electrical, mechanical, exteriors, landscaping, parking improvements, and ADA compliance.

Today, the three-story building is home to 17 individually-rented office spaces and a conference room on the upper floors. The bottom level housed The Blue Agave restaurant, including an outdoor dining deck, which was proudly operated for the last 27 years by the seller of the building. The whole structure consists of approximately 16,680 square feet.

The Moore Team, made up of Mark Moore, Kimberly Boyle, Monica Smith, and Brendan Boyle, consistently leads in sales volume and regularly raises the bar for their closest competitors. With a combined experience of well over 60 years, The Moore Team has sold nearly $200 million in real estate in just the past three years. From lakefront estates to townhomes, often representing both buyers and sellers, the powerhouse team possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise about Tahoe real estate.

~ Corcoran Global Living press release 

Slow Food Salmon Buying Club is Back

TRUCKEE/ TAHOE

Slow Food Lake Tahoe is bringing back its popular Alaskan Salmon Buying Club, giving local residents the opportunity to purchase sustainably caught Alaskan sockeye salmon at a significant discount. In return, nonprofit SFLT will receive 5% of all sales to help support the future of their community programs including the Food Bank Garden, which provides free education on high elevation edible gardens and growing organic produce for Sierra Community House’s hunger relief program.

Slow Food is working directly with the Pride of Bristol Bay fisherman out of Alaska to bring the community this exciting opportunity to access sockeye salmon with unsurpassed quality and flavor. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Bristol Bay Salmon Management Plan is recognized as one of the most effective, comprehensive management regimes in the world.

Order a 20-lb. case of filets  at $15.99 per pound, or portions priced at $16.99 per pound, for your own freezer or to share with a friend. Ordering closes Aug. 31. Boxes will be available for pick up at Truckee River Regional Park on Oct. 8. To find out more or order your box for October delivery, visit slowfoodlaketahoe.org/salmon-buying-club.

New this year, all online donations to SFLT in July and August will go toward purchasing additional boxes of salmon portions for locals in need, which will be distributed through Sierra Community House’s hunger relief program. To donate for others, go to givebacktahoe.org/organization/Slowfoodlaketahoe. Slow Food Lake Tahoe’s mission is to connect our community to the enjoyment of good, clean and fair food by inspiring a self-reliant food culture. We educate the community about growing, preparing, and accessing local and sustainable food. For more information, visit slowfoodlaketahoe.org.

~ Slow Food Lake Tahoe press release 

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