County Launches ‘Need for Speed’ Broadband Survey
Nevada County invites all residents and businesses to participate in a new survey that will assess high-speed internet (or broadband) availability and reliability across the county. The results of the survey will help the county prioritize new broadband projects, apply for funding, and advocate to elected officials and state regulators.
The survey, at mynevadacounty.com/broadband, takes less than five minutes to fill out and is available in both English and Spanish. Respondents who have internet access will be prompted to test their internet speed and provide the results. Those with slow speeds or no available internet at all are especially encouraged to participate.
Residents and businesses with no internet access are encouraged to take the survey from the library, a friend’s house, work, or school. They can also call the broadband hotline at (530) 562-4992 to respond over the phone.
County officials will provide the survey results in an online map that will not include specific addresses or personal information. This online map is available at the same link as the survey.
“We set a goal of at least 3,000 survey responses to really understand what’s going on, down to the street and the neighborhood,” 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.”
~ Nevada County press release
$1 Million in Grants for Expanding Public Access, Improving Resilience to Climate Change
The California Tahoe Conservancy has announced $1,005,800 in grants to local government agencies. The grants will support projects to expand public access to Lake Tahoe, improve water quality, and increase resilience to climate change.
As approved by the conservancy board, the grants include:
- $550,000 to the City of South Lake Tahoe to implement the Tahoe Valley Greenbelt and Stormwater Improvement Project. The city will improve and expand shared-use trails between a commercial area and adjacent neighborhoods. The city will also remove fill, restore wetlands, and build basins and other structures to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff. Using conservancy and other publicly owned lands, the project will make the South Tahoe Wye area more walkable and bikeable, and will improve water quality draining to the Upper Truckee River and Lake Tahoe.
- $300,000 to Placer County for public outreach, preliminary design, and environmental review for the Flick Point II Water Quality & Ecosystem Improvement Project. Improvements the county will consider include actions to reduce stream bank erosion and improve native habitat along Watson Creek, make it easier and safer for community members to access the greater north shore bike trail network, and reduce erosion and other roadway pollutants from entering local streams and Lake Tahoe from the Flick Point neighborhood.
- $130,800 to the North Tahoe Public Utility District to rehabilitate a scenic overlook at the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area. NTPUD’s improvements will meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, making it easier for everyone to enjoy the scenic view and picnic area. NTPUD will also install benches, picnic tables, interpretive signage, and kayak and paddleboard racks.
- $75,000 to the Tahoe City Public Utility District to replace a seasonal public restroom with an upgraded, year-round, and ADA-compliant restroom at the Lake Forest Boat Ramp near Tahoe City.
At the same meeting, the board discussed steps the conservancy is taking to increase racial equity in working toward its strategic plan goals, as well as near-term plans to increase engagement with communities of color.
~ California Tahoe Conservancy press release
TDPUD Ensures Drinking Water Meets State, Federal Requirements
Concern over levels of arsenic found in drinking water monitored by the Truckee Donner Public Utility District has been discussed on the social media platform Nextdoor. An individual shared that he had his water tested by UC Berkeley, where he works, and the results yielded high amounts of arsenic.
Steven Poncelet, public information officer and strategic affairs director with the PUD, told Moonshine Ink that all of the TDPUD’s drinking water meets state and federal requirements.
The mineral arsenic is a carcinogen, meaning it’s known to cause cancer in humans. Often, arsenic naturally occurs in groundwater sources within granite or volcanic rock formations — such is the case in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The California Office of Environmental Health has an established health hazard assessment for arsenic based on long-term exposures at elevated rates: The maximum contaminant level for arsenic is 10 parts per billion (ppb). Drinking water that meets or exceeds 10 ppb is reported to the state water control board. A monitoring and/or mitigation plan is also included as part of notification to the control board.
The post on Nextdoor shared arsenic occurring at 0.0198 parts per million.
In response to the Nextdoor post, the PUD posted information about how it monitors amounts of arsenic in the area’s drinking water, which it reports to the state board monthly. Those reports are available to the public via the California State Water Resources Control Board, though they tend to lag by a few months. The most recently available report is from September 2021, which reported 5.2 ppb at the PUD’s east arsenic samping site and 6.6 ppb at the west arsenic sampling site. Both sampling sites are located in the Old Greenwood subdivision. Poncelet also said the PUD’s water quality manager reached out to the individual on Nextdoor to discuss the Berkeley lab results.
TDPUD’s water is analyzed at a state-certified lab, Eurofins Eaton Analytical in Monrovia, California.
Agencies Join Forces to Protect Truckee River Watershed
In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and other funding partners, Truckee Meadows Water Authority has entered into a two-year, $500,000 commitment with the Tahoe National Forest and National Forest Foundation to help fund the Ladybug Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project, an initiative that is expected to be completed in 2025.
TMWA’s support is part of a broader network of contributions from the USFS, California Wildlife Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, and others. The overall project cost is estimated to be $3,800,000 and will be implemented by the National Forest Foundation through an existing partnership with the USFS.
“TMWA’s investment in the Ladybug project will improve 2,400 acres of National Forest System lands,” said Jonathan Cook-Fisher, Truckee district ranger. “This is a historic investment and indicative of the need for new partnerships to counter the threat of catastrophic fires.”
Wildfires can introduce contaminants into the ecosystem and ultimately the water supply when associated ash and eroded soil enters rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. This can cause acute water quality challenges and interrupt water treatment processing downstream.
Approved in 2020, the Ladybug Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project includes mechanical thinning of commercial and non-commercial timber, mastication, and prescribed fire. The project area consists of an overcrowded forest, impacted by historic Comstock era logging and fire suppression. In addition, recent drought conditions have contributed to increased tree mortality, particularly from insects and disease. Work commenced in 2021 and is expected to continue through 2025.
More about the Ladybug Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project can be found online by visiting fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55750.
~ Tahoe National Forest press release
Placer Approves New North Lake Tahoe Roundabout
A plan for a new roundabout and other road improvements at the intersection of state routes 28 and 267 in Kings Beach have moved forward with the Placer County Board of Supervisors approving a $1.2 million contract with GHD to complete the design and facilitate right-of-way acquisitions for the Kings Beach Western Approach Project.
The project will improve the existing signal-controlled intersection by replacing it with a roundabout and adding pedestrian and bicycle lane improvements. These changes will improve overall mobility and safety while accommodating all modes of travel to include pedestrians, bikes, vehicles, and transit.
The existing intersection doesn’t meet current accessibility standards. Its bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks along SR 28 are narrow, close to traffic, and obstructed by the signal.
Once complete, the project will connect with the adjacent Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project that was finished in 2017. This third and final phase of the corridor plan will address the remaining state routes 28 and 267 intersection deficiencies, providing a fully integrated corridor from the Kings Beach downtown core through SR 28 toward Tahoe City.
The project is designated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Environmental Improvement Program as an air quality priority project — contributing to improvements in North Lake Tahoe air quality, recreation, scenic resources, soil conservation, and water quality.
Funding comes from several sources, with a majority from the State Transportation Block Grant and Active Transportation Program, and the remaining from the county Traffic Impact Fee Program.
With the board’s approval, the project will now move into the design phase, with construction expected in late 2023 or 2024.
~ Placer County press release
Board Denies Appeals of Special-Use Permit for Resort At Tahoe
The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners held a public hearing to consider three appeals of the Washoe County Board of Adjustment’s approval of a special use permit for major grading at the project known as the Resort at Tahoe. Denial of the appeals means that the applicant, EKN Development Group, may proceed with applying for specific grading permits for the project site and connector roadways in preparation for future redevelopment of the old Tahoe Biltmore property.
The board acted on two motions, the first to determine which of the three appellants have standing to appeal the special-use permit. Commissioner Bob Lucey made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Alexis Hill, that only Granite Place Owners Association has standing to appeal the permit. Granite Place is an 18-unit condominium community adjacent to the Resort at Tahoe property.
Hill proposed changes to conditions of the permit, including limiting construction to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with no weekend work allowed. She then moved to modify the decision of the Board of Adjustment and the special-use permit with her proposed conditions, and noted that if the other two appellants had been determined to have standing, the motion would have applied to them as well. EKN Development Group agreed to add some traffic-calming measures as well.
~ Washoe County press release
Free Workshops Return for the 2022 Gardening Season
Slow Food Lake Tahoe, in partnership with the UCCE Master Gardeners of Lake Tahoe, and UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center are once again offering a free high elevation organic gardening workshop series focused on the edible plants that grow best in our unique high elevation climate. It’s free to attend the spring workshops and participants will have the opportunity to purchase starts of their own for $15, which will include a mix of varieties specifically chosen because they grow best in our region.
Workshops will be offered both virtually and in-person in the Slow Food Lake Tahoe gardens. Participants who are curious about gardening but are unsure where to begin will enjoy instruction from our local gardening experts who will cover river- and lake-friendly techniques on how to grow organically at high elevation. Attendees will also learn about the history of each plant and how to plant, manage pests, fertilize, and harvest.
“With food prices increasing, it’s a great time to grow your own food at home,” said Amy Fagel, representative of Slow Food Lake Tahoe. “And we hope our community enjoys this free opportunity to learn a skill that is healthy for themselves, their families, and our environment.”
The series will kick off on April 6 with Grow Your Own Mushrooms. Registration for each workshop and the optional starter plants can be completed on Slow Food Lake Tahoe’s website: slowfoodlaketahoe.org/events.
Wednesdays on Zoom at 6 p.m.; Saturdays in the garden at 10 a.m.
- April 6: Mushrooms
- May 4, 7: Gardening 101 & Fertilizer
- May 11, 14: Beans & Peas
- May 18, 21: Spicy Salads with Leafy Greens
- May 25, 28: Potatoes & Sunchokes
- June 1, 4: Squash
- June 8, 11: Tomatoes
- June 15, 18: Herbs
~ Slow Food Lake Tahoe press release