Final Writ and Judgment on Martis Valley West
On July 6, the final writ and judgment for the case involving the Martis Valley West development and Mountain Area Preservation with co-plaintiffs League to Save Lake Tahoe and Sierra Watch concluded favoring the petitioners, revoking approval for the Martis Valley West development project.
The Placer County Superior Court addressed the respondents, Placer County and Placer County Board of Supervisors stating “within 90 days of service of this writ, Respondents shall vacate and set aside it’s approval of the Project, including the Martis Valley West Parcel Specific Plan, the Development Agreement, the Large-Lot Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, amendments to the Martis Valley Community Plan, zoning change, development standards and design guidelines, and related resolutions and ordinances (collectively, ‘Project Approvals’)”. The court goes on to explain that the Respondents are not to readopt the Project Approvals or certify a revised EIR unless it is compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act by correcting the deficiencies in the EIR that were found by the Court of Appeal.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe and Sierra Watch released newsletters claiming the judgment in the case as a legal victory. “The writ and judgment do more than finalize an important legal victory for Mountain Area Preservation and our co-plaintiffs the League to Save Lake Tahoe and Sierra Watch. They mark a major milestone in our 20-year effort, spelling out in black and white what we can accomplish when we work together to defend the places we love.”
Broadband Resources for Residents Losing DSL Service
We understand that DSL service is being decommissioned in some parts of Nevada County. We are as frustrated and concerned as you are with this unfortunate news. Your local county government has very little control over this, as telecommunications are not regulated at the county level. In fact, federal law does not allow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadband as we regulate other public utilities and does not prevent carriers from decommissioning older networks without replacing them.
We suggest that anyone affected by this change take these steps:
- Search for other telecommunications providers serving your area. See this list for other service providers in Nevada County and share information with your neighbors. A Truckee resident tells us that after her DSL was decommissioned, her household switched to a T-Mobile 5G Gateway.
- Be prepared to receive news about emergencies via radio. Tune in to KVMR (89.5 FM), KNCO (830 AM), or KTKE (101.5 FM) for updates. On Red Flag Warning days, stay connected with neighbors and keep a radio on.
- Collaborate with neighbors to establish a local radio network for emergencies. Some communities are working to close the communications gap by using privately purchased two-way FM radios to communicate as a neighborhood. These radios can be used to quickly pass information about a new fire start in your area. When coupled with a communications plan and a neighborhood watch program these radios can be very effective. Find out more here.
- Utilize co-working spaces and public computer facilities. There are at least two co-working establishments in Nevada City and Grass Valley (Sierra Commons and The Workspace). Additionally, public computers are available for free at all Nevada County Library locations. Computer use is limited to two, one-hour sessions per day. Chromebooks and Mac books are available for in-library use for two-hour time blocks; patrons must have a library card or photo identification. The libraries also offer free WiFi (to use with your own device) with no time limit.
For those of you in this frustrating situation, help us better understand exactly which areas are losing DSL service by filling out this survey set up by YubaNet.
Meanwhile, Nevada County leaders will continue to work to expand broadband access across Nevada County. Visit our broadband webpage for more information on what we have done and are currently doing in this area.
~ Nevada County enews
Visitor Guides to Wildfire Season and Planned Power Outages
Visit Truckee-Tahoe publishes a Visitor’s Guide to Wildfire Season and a Visitor’s Guide to Planned Power Outages (PSOMs) to help guests, residents, and second homeowners be prepared during California’s wildfire season. A project of the Sustainable Truckee initiative, the two guides provide 14 pages of comprehensive information and direct links to resources about travel during wildfire season, prevention of human-caused fires, current fire bans, and how to be prepared for power outages, potential evacuation, and more. Guides are located on the daily Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert isittruckeetahoe.com/alert and are constantly updated as conditions dictate.
VTT developed the guides with input from Sustainable Truckee VIP partners including Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Tahoe National Forest, Tahoe Forest Hospital, Truckee Fire Protection District, and emergency services officials at Town of Truckee and Nevada County.
Additionally, both guides were sent for a full review by the Convene, Champion, and Catalyze, a leadership forum for sustainability, including 50-plus chiefs, directors, and executives who are vested in mitigating peak period impacts. The CCC was created by Nevada County Supervisor Hardy Bullock in 2021 as a forum to discuss stewardship and to find immediate and long-term solutions. The two visitor guides were shared and approved at the July 6 CCC meeting.
The Visitor’s Guide to Wildfire Season reminds everyone to report wildfire safety concerns by not hesitating to call 911. Details include advice for visitors on current fire bans, fire weather, red flag warnings, roads and traffic information, how to get emergency alerts, evacuation zones, and which social media profiles to look at for breaking news.
The Visitor’s Guide to Planned Power Outages is the primary and most comprehensive resource in Truckee to date for visitors to learn about local PSOMs and to get advice on what to expect before and during the outage, whether they are staying in a hotel or short-term rental.
“During wildfire season, periods of extreme fire weather may be forecast, in which case NV Energy will de-energize transmission power supply to Truckee, resulting in town-wide power outages that could last one to many days,” said Steven Poncelet, public information and strategic affairs director for Truckee Donner Public Utility District.
Along with 31 “extreme fire danger” trailhead signs located throughout Truckee, plus seven Sustainable Truckee ambassadors frequenting trails and OHV roads, the two guides are one part of 16 programs developed by Visit Truckee-Tahoe and VIP partners including the Truckee Trails Foundation.
Read the Visitor’s Guide to Wildfire Season and Visitor’s Guide to Planned Power Outages on the Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert at visittruckeetahoe.com/alert. While the guides are available online and updated as conditions dictate, Visit Truckee-Tahoe recommends downloading the PDF versions if an event is imminent and cell service and/or internet access may be hampered during an emergency.
~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release
Graffiti Removal Project Volunteers Sought
Help preserve Donner Summit’s History by participating in the Donner Summit Association’s graffiti removal project. Graffiti is art and should be celebrated, but not on sacred sites. Graffiti is defacing the historical landmarks and destroying artifacts of Donner Summit. The next graffiti removal day will be Aug. 6, with shifts from 9 a.m to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Meet at the Lamson-Cashion trail hub. To sign up, send an email to email@example.com.
~ Donner Summit Association newsletter
Tahoe State of the Lake Report 2022
The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center released its annual Tahoe: State of the Lake Report. The report informs nonscientists about important factors affecting the health of Lake Tahoe and provides the scientific underpinnings for restoration and management decisions within the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The report summarizes data collected during 2021 in the context of the long-term record of research at Lake Tahoe. UC Davis researchers have continuously monitored the lake since 1968.
The report describes the collapse of the zooplankton and Mysis diluviana shrimp populations; an abrupt change in the phytoplankton community; and the extent of algal growth impacting large sections of the Tahoe shoreline.
“Any one of these changes would be a big deal in a single year,” Schladow said. “All three occurring at once is particularly alarming and a huge opportunity to learn lessons that can be used to inform future management.”
Plummeting plankton a clear opportunity
Zooplankton numbers plummeted in the past year. These tiny aquatic organisms are an important part of the lake’s food web and help regulate algae concentrations. The decline of non-native zooplankton, the Mysis shrimp, marks an opportunity to better understand lake clarity. (The Tahoe Clarity Report was released earlier this month.)
Mysis shrimp were introduced to the lake about 50 years ago, feasting on native Daphnia and other zooplankton that help clean the water. After Mysis abundance declined in Emerald Bay between 2011 and 2014, Daphnia — and water clarity — dramatically increased, resulting in larger kokanee salmon. Mysis later returned to the bay, and the process reversed itself. TERC researchers expect a similar episode to play out in Lake Tahoe itself over the next one to four years, with Mysis numbers already at extremely low levels.
To leverage this natural experiment underway, the report calls for more complete monitoring to understand the interplay among zooplankton, phytoplankton, and clarity.
Meanwhile, phytoplankton forming the base of the food web are also changing their distribution at an unprecedented rate. In 2021, phytoplankton moved closer to the surface as summer progressed. The shift may be due to reduced sunlight and UV radiation during wildfire smoke events.
Algae growth highest on record
The rate of algal growth, or “primary productivity,” has increased six-fold over the past 50 years. The abundance of floating algae also increased by 300%in the past year, attaining an all-time high annual value in 2021.
Nearshore algal blooms are a growing threat, impacting areas of the lake where the greatest numbers of people congregate. Researchers used aerial imagery to capture for the first time the full extent of the periphyton bloom along the lake’s northwest side.
For the first time on record, the lake’s dominant alga was the cyanobacteria Leptolyngbya, a species favored by the high nitrogen present in wildfire smoke.
Fine particles highest on record
In 2021, fine particle concentrations, which greatly impact clarity, were the highest on record. The wet year of 2017 brought a large increase in fine particles to Lake Tahoe from local streams. High average concentrations have continued each year since, despite some extremely dry years. Particles from wildfires in 2021 may be a source. Researchers continue to study the drivers and impacts of fine particles.
Meanwhile, nitrogen and phosphorous loads from the Upper Truckee River were the lowest on record in 2021.
Weather and climate change
Climate change is evident in nearly all the long-term meteorological trends, including rising air temperatures and a declining snowpack. In 2021, monthly average temperatures were warmer than the long-term average and the past two years. The year also brought the warmest June and July since these measurements started in 2010.
With less than half the long-term average precipitation, 2021 was the third driest year on record. The report said it is “almost certain” that the lake will fall below its natural rim and stop flowing to the Truckee River this summer.
The report also details research related to wildfire smoke, invasive species, microplastics, a new lake conditions tool, and educational outreach conducted by TERC in 2021.
~ UC Davis TERC press release
Improvements Continue for I-80 Rehabilitation Project
Travel delays are continuing through November on Interstate 80 in Truckee for roadway construction activities.
Motorists are advised to expect typical delays of 15 to 20 minutes when traveling through the work zones on weekdays. However, delays of 25 to 30 minutes are common on Thursday afternoons due to increased weekend travel levels.
Shoulder work at the I-80 eastbound on-ramp from State Route 89 south and Central Truckee (Exit 186) off-ramp is scheduled for the next few weeks. Construction crews will primarily be working behind k-rail with minimal traffic impacts during area excavation, electrical and drainage work. Intermittent right lane closures on the mainline near the ramps may be required.
Along westbound I-80, motorists are advised that the Central Truckee on-ramp will be closed daily for drainage work between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Aug. 5. Signed detours will direct motorists along Donner Pass Road to the SR-89 south on-ramp.
Concrete and roadway widening work also continues on I-80 westbound between Central Truckee (Exit 186) and Donner Pass Road/Cold Stream Road (Exit 184) with alternating lane closures anticipated between 8 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Friday for several weeks. The I-80 westbound off-ramp to Donner Pass Road/Cold Stream Road (Exit 184) may also be closed intermittently for maintenance work the weeks of Aug. 8 and 15.
The construction activities are part of a $30.6 million project to rehabilitate the existing concrete on I-80 in Truckee, install a westbound auxiliary lane from the SR-89 south on- ramp to the Donner Pass Road off-ramp, install eastbound acceleration lanes from the Donner Pass Road on-ramp and the SR-89 south on-ramp, improve drainage, and upgrade concrete walkways along ramps to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
Teichert Construction of Rocklin is the prime contractor for the project, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2022. The construction schedule is subject to change based on weather, equipment availability or other unexpected events.
~Caltrans press release
Tahoe Institute for Natural Science Goes Wild for Wildflowers
Thanks to a series of spring storms, wildflowers have been peaking in the second half of July and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science is looking for people to join the Wildflower Big Year event. It’s a celebration of the many hundreds of plant species that make the Lake Tahoe region their home.
There are many ways to enjoy and engage with our local plants, but participants can learn a great deal about our local species and contribute valuable data by taking photos of any local plants and then uploading their photos to the TINS iNaturalist Project.
“It’s a great way for us to gather a ton of useful information,” says TINS executive director, Will Richardson. “Through this effort, we are able to document the plant community of the area, providing data that can be critical to resource management decision-making.” So far in 2022, participants have provided nearly 15,000 records of over 1,000 species of plants.
TINS has planned dozens of activities around the Wildflower Big Year; including guided wildflower outings; workshops and talks on a variety of topics; and rare plant hunts; more events also continue to be added to the calendar.
For more information and upcoming events go to the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science website.
~ TINS press release
Tourism Business Improvement District Committees Award Grants For Community Projects
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
North Lake Tahoe’s new Tourism Business Improvement District Advisory and Zone 1 Committees, composed of local business owners and representatives, have recommended the first three local projects to receive funding from the business community’s self-assessed TBID revenues. Mural and downtown lighting projects in Kings Beach and Tahoe City were recommended by the committees in support of the region’s stewardship education efforts and to support local businesses by adding to the evening ambiance and creating a welcoming sense of place in the downtown areas.
In total, over $90,000 in TBID funds were approved by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association board of directors to support the projects. The funds were generated this year by North Lake Tahoe’s newly formed Tourism Business Improvement District and will provide the Tahoe City Downtown Association’s downtown lighting program with a $50,000 grant, and $12,450 for phase two of the Kings Beach commercial core lighting project. In Tahoe City, the downtown lighting program is a move to LEDs in an effort to be 100% sustainable. In addition, a new Kings Beach mural project was awarded $30,100. Ten murals will be painted this summer by a combination of professional and student artists in conjunction with Arts for the Schools in the Kings Beach commercial core to convey important themes of environmental respect, stewardship and cultural heritage.
Annual TBID revenues will be used for responsible travel and stewardship education, including efforts to offset tourism impacts, bolster a year-round economy, and support local businesses. Economic development, events, transportation, sustainability, business support and advocacy, and visitor services are some examples of specific project categories that can be funded with TBID dollars. The funds are managed by the NLTRA with oversight from the NLTRA Board of Directors and corresponding committees.
The TBID Advisory and Zone 1 Advisory committees make recommendations to the NLTRA board on budget expenses and recommend projects that fall within the scope of the Management District Plan. These newly formed committees are also collaborating with consultants to develop a system to intake, review, and award project funding for community improvement projects. This system will be made public, along with guidelines on what funds can be used for, upon completion and approval by the NLTRA board.
~ North Lake Tahoe TBID committee press release
Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up
Trunk Show to Sell
Tahoe Trunk Show owner Jaclyn Woznicki announced on social media this week that she is selling the shop that carries “art, jewelry, and stuff.” “I’m passing on my beloved Tahoe Trunk Show to a wonderful local couple. Kristi Green Katin and Pete Katin are like-minded and will continue to support our community.” Woznicki expressed gratitude to the community for supporting her and the shop for the past nine years. She explained that she will remain the owner through Aug. 30 and come September the new owners will take over.
New Express Lift To Open At Mt. Rose This Season
The largest capital improvement project in the history of Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is moving full steam ahead with impressive progress well ahead of schedule. The resort’s new Lakeview zone ($7.5 million on-mountain expansion) will enhance and change the way skiers and riders experience the mountain with the new Lakeview Express lift catering to low-level and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The new Lakeside trail will feature expansive views of Lake Tahoe and now provide the preferred route to access the popular Around the World trail. Much of the dirt work is finished for the Lakeview Express high speed lift, and extensive foundation prep is nearing completion.
The new Lakeview chairlift will open during the 2022/23 winter season as weather and snow conditions permit. The beginner-rated Lakeside trail will create another, more suitable route from the top of the Lakeview lift to the Around the World ski trail, giving novice skiers and riders greater ability to enjoy lake views while accessing beginner terrain.
The other lifts on the mountain are also receiving a facelift, with a fresh modern paint scheme and low-voltage drive updates on the fixed grip chairs.
~ Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe press release