News Briefs

County Election Results Certified

NEVADA, EL DORADO COUNTIES

On March 27, Nevada County Registrar of Voters Natalie Adona certified the results of the March 5 Primary Election. The final tally shows that 53.25%, or 39,579, of Nevada County’s 74,321 registered voters cast ballots in the election. 

Those receiving the most votes among Nevada County residents include:

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  • Joe Biden (D), Presidential Nominee 
  • Donald Trump (R), Presidential Nominee
  • Steve Garvey (R), United States Senate, who will face Adam Schiff (D) in the November General Election
  • Jessica Morse (D), House of Representatives, District 3, who will face Kevin Kiley (R) in November
  • Megan Dahle (R), State Senate, District 1, who will face David Fennell (R) in November
  • Tenessa Audette (R), State Assembly, District 1, who will face Heather Hadwick (R) in November
  • No on Proposition 1, though likely to pass statewide  
  • Hardy Bullock, County Supervisor, District 5 (ran unopposed)

The final results are available at nevadacountyca.gov/march5election

El Dorado County certified its results on March 21. The final tally shows 67,205 of 131,028 county residents (or 51.29%) cast votes.

Those receiving the most votes among El Dorado County residents include: 

  • Joe Biden (D), Presidential Nominee
  • Donald Trump (R), Presidential Nominee
  • Steve Garvey (R), United States Senate, who will face Adam Schiff (D) in November
  • Kevin Kiley (R), House of Representatives, District 3, who will face Jessica Morse (D) in November
  • Heather Hadwick (R), State Assembly, District 1, who will face Tenessa Audette (R) in November
  • No on Proposition 1, though likely to pass statewide  

The final results are available at edcgov.us/government/elections/documents/electionsummaryreportrpt.pdf

Placer County has yet to certify its primary election results.

County elections officials must submit final results by April 4. The California Secretary of State will certify results on April 12.

~ AH

Donner Lake Peak Season Study Receives $17,500

TRUCKEE

In alignment with the tourism authority’s Two Year Strategic Plan, Visit Truckee-Tahoe (VTT) has funded $17,500 to the Truckee River Watershed Council (TRWC), representing the Donner Lake Interagency Partnership for Stewardship (DIPS). The purpose of the study is to collect data for peak period recreational use on Donner Lake. 

To help develop Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s strategic plan, in spring 2023 the organization convened the first Truckee Stewardship Council, a leadership group with jurisdiction and authority to implement long term change on popular lands. Members of the council span Truckee recreation nonprofits, districts, agencies, town and county governments, state parks and general managers for Palisades Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Resort, and Northstar California. 

Facilitated by the tourism authority and global consultants FutureIQ, the council first defined boundaries for Truckee’s stewardship map as the Truckee River middle watershed, extending out to Northstar California, Olympic Valley, and Alpine Meadows plus unincorporated Nevada and Placer County lands adjacent to Truckee. While Donner Summit is the headwaters for South Yuba watershed, the very popular and historically important area is also included in the Truckee Stewardship map. 

After defining Truckee’s stewardship map, the council published two Flashvote Surveys in summer 2023 that measured the community’s greatest areas and issues of concern in the Truckee stewardship map.

Within 48 hours of the first survey, 975 responses (including 669 Truckee locals) identified Donner Lake as the highest area of concern for protection and management out of four areas with 75% votes, followed by the Truckee River, Truckee’s paved paths, and Historic Downtown Truckee.  

SUMMER STUDY: This summer, surveyors will be out at Donner Lake conducting interviews as part of a land-use study funded by Visit Truckee-Tahoe. Photo by Scott Thompson

The second Flashvote survey then measured the greatest issues of concern, in each of the top four areas of concern. For Donner lake, those issues ranked as lack of parking, crowded/degraded experiences, uneducated/irresponsible behavior and trash in that order. The Flashvote results validated the board’s DIPS $17,500 survey funding decision made earlier in 2023, also aligning with the organization’s two year strategic plan.

Fast forward to March 28, 2024, when a request for proposal (RFP) for the DIPS intercept survey funded by VTT was issued by the Truckee River Watershed Council (TRWC). This summer, locals can expect to see intercept surveyors on Donner Lake conducting interviews with all user types. 

For more information about Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s Two Year Strategic Plan, the Truckee Stewardship Council, and the two Flashvote Surveys, please contact the official tourism authority at visittruckeetahoe.com/contact.  

To review the DIPS intercept survey RFP, please contact the Truckee River Watershed Council: Michele Prestowitz, (530) 550-8760 x 4, mprestowitz@truckeeriverwc.org

~ Visit Truckee-Tahoe press release

Tahoe National Forest to Reduce Wildfire Risk Surrounding Alpine Meadows, Olympic Valley Communities 

NEVADA CITY

Tahoe National Forest’s Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley Fire Protection Project will reduce fuel loading, improve forest health, and provide adequate long-term community protection from future wildfires on 1,080 acres of National Forest lands approximately 5 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe. Insect infestation and disease to vegetation coupled with historical fire suppression has resulted in elevated and undesirable fuel loads in the area that are at an increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. The project is planned to begin in 2025 and aims to reduce fuels through hand and mechanical thinning and piling, mastication, chipping and prescribed fire. 

The project area has been identified as a priority by the recently formed Middle Truckee River Watershed Forest Partnership (MTRWFP). The partnership aims to improve and protect the resilience of the Middle Truckee River Watershed through forest health initiatives. The MTRWFP comprises Truckee River Watershed Council, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, The Nature Conservancy, National Forest Foundation, and Tahoe National Forest.  

“The Middle Truckee River Watershed is a main water source for the communities of Truckee and Sierraville, and supplies the Reno region with about 90% of its drinking water,” said Tahoe National Forest Truckee District Ranger Jonathan Cook-Fisher. “The Middle Truckee River Watershed Forest Partnership is prioritizing forest resilience work in this watershed to protect water security for the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors that depend on it every day.” 

The project aims to not only protect water supply from wildfire, but also several endangered and threatened species, thousands of homes surrounding the project area, and other private, state and local infrastructure.  

Environmental analysis for the project was completed by the National Forest Foundation with funders including the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, several businesses and HOAs, and over 100 community members within the Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley communities. The project was made possible with significant in-kind support from the USDA Forest Service.  

Tahoe National Forest signed a decision memo earlier this month, clearing the project for implementation. To view project documents or learn more, visit: fs.usda.gov/project/tahoe/?project=65079.

~ Tahoe National Forest press release

Youth Climate Activists Build Snowmen in Protest

TRUCKEE

On March 24, members of the Tahoe Youth Action Team (TYAT), staged a unique snowmen protest in downtown Truckee’s Eagle Monument Plaza. Standing in front of a sign that read Make Earth Cool Again, over 100 youth-created snowmen held protest signs advocating for climate action to save their species from the warming effects of climate change. 

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN? Local students stand behind their 100 snowmen, created to educate the public about the harmful effects of climate change.

The signs conveyed messages that read:

  • Dear Representative Kiley, please price carbon! Protect our snow!
  • S.O.S. Save our seasons!
  • There’s snow time like the present to price carbon!
  • Born and rolled in Truckee, and I’d like to stay here!

As the TYAT members worked on the snowmen, passersby stopped to read about the protest and take photographs. Some even helped to make snowmen.

The TYAT is the youth division of the North Tahoe chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national, nonprofit, non-partisan climate advocacy and solutions organization. Among other things, TYAT has proposed a resolution to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board of Directors to increase the school district’s commitment to decarbonizing its buildings and operations and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Keira Scott, a senior at Truckee High School and group leader of TYAT, said of the event, “Although we can’t vote, we can absolutely make a difference by educating the public about the importance of addressing environmental issues. Our hope is that these snowmen and their signs cause people to stop and think about the world in the future if no climate action is taken.”

~ Citizens Climate Lobby press release

Economic Development Action Plan Adopted

NEVADA CITY

Increased economic activity, tax revenue, and business retention and expansion are some of the goals of Nevada County’s new 2-year Economic Development Action Plan. 

The 31-page plan, which was adopted by the board of supervisors on March 26, focuses on supporting businesses in information technology and advanced manufacturing, healthcare and social services, recreation and sustainable tourism, food and agriculture, and construction.  

The plan was developed over 7 months with input from 30 organizations and approximately 80 community members, and will be enacted by partners, including the Nevada County Economic  Resource Council, the Sierra Business Council, and the chambers of commerce.   

The plan will help align the county and its economic partners on short- and long-term strategies  focused on increasing economic activity and tax revenue, improving business retention and  expansion, and positioning the region to be competitive for federal and state investments and  grants. 

The plan identifies a broad spectrum of work currently being accomplished by community  partners. It also highlights areas for expanded focus, including building a strong foundation for  local entrepreneurship and small business formation, boosting the visibility of the county and its assets, determining a cost-effective way to maintain an inventory of businesses located in the unincorporated areas, and supporting the growth of technology and advanced manufacturing. 

“I commend our team for welcoming Visit Tahoe-Truckee, the Truckee Chamber, and all our  partners countywide into the process, who provided critical comments. We are looking at how  we can make the region as a whole successful,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Hardy Bullock.

~ Nevada County press release

Bear Box Grant Program Available for Tahoe Basin Property Owners

KINGS BEACH

Placer County property owners in the Tahoe Basin can receive up to $2,200 to install a bear-resistant garbage can, also known as a bear box.

Grants for installing a bear box on a property will be on a first come, first serve basis until funds are depleted or until May 31, 2025, whichever is earlier.

Property owners will be responsible for any installation costs above the $2,200 grant amount.

Funding is made possible through a partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

How does it work? 

  • Contact Placer County by filling out the online form, emailing bearboxgrant@placer.ca.gov, or calling (530) 889-6846. 
  • County staff will determine if a resident lives in an eligible area and if funding is still available.
  • Select a bear box from the county’s approved bear box list along with an installer.
  • Residents and their selected installer will sign and submit the responsibilities sheet to the county before any work happens.  
  • The installer will work with the county throughout the installation. 
  • The installer will invoice the county for up to $2,200 and invoice the property owner for any costs over that amount.

For more information and to get started, visit placer.ca.gov/bearboxgrant.

~ Placer County press release

Survey Shows Mixed Sentiments

NEVADA CITY

Nevada County received favorable ratings for its desirability as a place to live and visit, its safety, and its natural environment in the Nevada County Community Survey completed this past fall. Wildfire preparedness, affordability, and inclusivity remain concerns.

The survey identified four key findings:  

  • Nevada County continues to be a highly desirable and engaging community, yet participants emphasize the importance of fostering inclusivity. 
  • Residents experience a strong sense of safety in Nevada County but indicate concerns about wildfire preparedness. 
  • The local economy is strong but poses challenges to community affordability. 
  • The county’s natural environment and parks and recreational opportunities remain highly valued by residents. 

Emergency preparedness continues to be top-of-mind; 94% are concerned with the ability to find or renew wildfire insurance, and only 32% feel safe from natural disasters such as fires or storms. 

There is strong support for continued housing development and  services:  

  • 91% support the development of workforce housing. 
  • 87% support the development of income-based affordable housing. 
  • 85% support services for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Nevada County residents are positive about the quality of recreational opportunities,  natural resources, and access to lakes, rivers, and beaches; 89% rated the quality of the natural environment as essential or very important; and 76% rated the quality of recreation opportunities as essential or very important.  

Economic health and high-speed internet (broadband) came up as key focus areas; 90% rated economic health essential or very important, and 53% rated the overall economic health as excellent or good, 74% rated overall quality of businesses as excellent or good, 23% rated the quality of affordable high-speed internet as excellent or good.

The survey was taken by a representative sample of 518 residents contacted by mail between  Sept. 12 and Oct. 24. An additional 1,270 residents completed the survey online.

The results of the survey can be viewed at nevadacountyca.gov/communitysurvey.

~ Nevada County press release

The Return of Sandhill Cranes

LAKE TAHOE

Sandhill cranes, birds that once upon a time had all but vanished from the Tahoe region, are migrating to Lake Tahoe this spring. “More and more, these cranes are stopping to spend the summer here,” says Tahoe Institute for Natural Science co-founder and executive director Will Richardson.

Formerly a popular game bird, only an estimated three to four pairs were believed to nest in the entire state of California in 1944. In 1970, lawmakers in the state took action granting sandhill cranes fully-protected status. Six years later, nests were documented in the Sierra Valley, but it was still many decades before they started to reach the Tahoe region. In 2015, a milestone was reached when a breeding pair with a colt was discovered at Teichert Ponds in Truckee. In 2018, a pair began nesting at Grass Lake near Luther Pass, the first documented breeders in the Lake Tahoe basin.

“People need to be mindful that they are still highly susceptible to disturbance, and should be given plenty of space whenever a nest or a pair with a colt is found,” says Richardson.

The big winter of 2023 led to a major uptick in attempted nesting in Tahoe, with additional breeding either suspected or confirmed at Pope Marsh, Washoe Meadows State Park, and the Upper Truckee Marsh. Unfortunately, not all of these nests were successful last year. 

“We believe that the Upper Truckee Marsh nest likely failed due to disturbance from recreational paddlers, despite the fact that the California Tahoe Conservancy posted clear signage for paddlers to stay away from the active nest,” says Richardson. Other nesting sites, such as those at Washoe Meadows State Park or the Teichert Ponds in Truckee may be subject to disturbance from people walking their dogs off leash. 

To learn more about the research and conservation efforts led by the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, visit tinsweb.org.

~ TINS press release

Far West Team Makes History at Junior Nationals

NEW YORK

The Far West Nordic team etched a new chapter in its history at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard 2024 Cross Country Junior Nationals, held in Lake Placid, New York, March 11 to 16.

The Individual Start Freestyle resulted in a collection of All-American (top 10) finishes from several Far West athletes. On the women’s side, Aili Scott and Sierra Strecker placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the U16 category. In the U18 age group, Britta Johnson placed third and Niki Johnson landed in eighth. On the men’s side, Luka Karnickis took sixth in the U16 group and Matt Seline placed 10th for U20.

On the second day, Far West Nordic had at least one top-20 finish in all five age groups represented in the Classic Sprint, a feat not accomplished since 2018. In the Women’s U18, sisters Niki and Britta Johnson placed ninth and 11th, respectively. In Women’s U16, Sierra Strecker, 14th; Aili Scott, 16th; Alice Jowers, 17th; Men’s U16, Elio Adriani placed 15th; and U18: Dane Karch, 12th; Cabot Godoy, 17th; and in Men’s U20, Matteus Sokulsky, 15th.

The Classic Mass Start saw the athletes persevere through slushy conditions with difficult climbs and rutted corners on the descents. The U16s completed a 5k course, the U18s a 10k course, and the U20s a 15k course.

There were several podium finishes throughout the day, including Sierra Strecker, third U16 Female; U16 Luka Karnickis, second U16 Male; Britta Johnson, third U18 Female; and Dane Karch, second U18 Male. 

Far West relay teams claimed spots on the podium in each of the three age categories. The U16 and U20 relay teams both placed third, while the U18 team clinched first place. The U16 team was made up of Sierra Strecker, Elio Adriani, Aili Scott, and Luka Karnickis; the U18 team, Britta Johnson, Quinn Holan, Niki Johnson, and Dane Karch; and U20, Maggie Cooke, Matt Seline, Keira Scott, and Matteus Sokulsky.

The team expresses a huge shoutout to trip leader Bernie Nelson.

~ Far West Nordic press release

Spring Into the Arts

TRUCKEE

April’s Good Morning Truckee, hosted by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce, is welcoming local artists to share about how the public can get more involved in the arts.

Speakers include:

  • Kellie Cutler: program manager, Truckee Cultural District/Nevada County Arts Council
  • Troy Corliss: Truckee Public Art Commission
  • Karyn Stanley: executive director, Truckee Roundhouse
  • Callie Martin: fine arts teacher, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

Good Morning Truckee is open to the public. It is held on the third Tuesday of every month at Truckee Town Hall from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. The event is offered in person and is recorded for viewing later. Tickets are $10 for Truckee Chamber members and $15 for the public and include a continental breakfast and coffee donated by Mountain Brew. Business cards will be entered into a prize drawing.

~ Truckee Chamber of Commerce press release

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Stewardship Council Appoints First Managing Director 

LAKE TAHOE

The Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council is accelerating the vision and actions outlined in the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan to improve the way people, communities, and the environment benefit from a thriving tourism and outdoor recreation economy. The council announced the recent hire of its first managing director, Nettie Pardue, and the formation of action teams aligned with the plan’s strategic pillars. Pardue is tasked with convening over 30 partners from across the region to implement the plan’s priorities. 

A Meyers, California resident, Pardue brings local knowledge and a vested interest in Tahoe to the managing director role. With an extensive background as a nonprofit executive, most recently for Outward Bound California, Pardue has worked in outdoor recreation for over 25 years. She has developed international programs in seven countries.

Pardue’s immediate priorities are to support ongoing work to better manage outdoor recreation  and tourism and to take the plan from ideas to action. She will create metrics that can be used to demonstrate the impact of the council’s work for the community, and form the action teams made up of staff from partner organizations to advance the plan’s priorities.

Teams align with the strategic pillars of the plan and include the Recreation Infrastructure Action Team, Peak Demand Action Team, Economic Action Team, and Stewardship Action Team. Visit stewardshiptahoe.org to learn more about the plan. 

~ Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council press release

Catherine Hansford Appointed to Truckee Sanitary District Board 

TRUCKEE

During a special board meeting on Feb. 27, the Truckee Sanitary District Board of Directors voted to appoint Catherine Hansford to serve on the board. Hansford will fill the vacancy left by Director Nelson Van Gundy, who retired on Jan. 1. 

CATHERINE HANSFORD was recently appointed on the Truckee Sanitary District Board of Directors. Courtesy photo

Hansford will join President Marcus Waters, Vice President Brian Smart, Jerry Gilmore, and Denny Anderson. She brings a strong background in economics and municipal finance to the board. With a master of science in agricultural economics from the  University of Nevada, Reno, Hansford currently serves as the principal at Hansford Economic Consulting and has extensive experience working with public agencies, specifically in the water utilities sector. She will serve on the board until the next general election in November 2024. 

Hansford is actively involved in the community, volunteering her time at the KidZone Museum, and serving as president of the TNT Lacrosse Club.

~ Truckee Sanitary District Board press release

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