Tahoe Clarity Report Mixed for 2019
The clarity of Lake Tahoe has long been one of the most important indicators of the lake’s changing condition. In 2019, Lake Tahoe’s clarity decreased nearly 8 feet from the previous year’s dramatic 10-foot improvement. The average annual value in 2019 was 62.7 feet. The lowest value was recorded in 2017, when clarity was 60 feet.
Such year-to-year and even day-to-day fluctuations are common. A truer picture of the clarity is often indicated by a five-year running mean, which shows a mean clarity of 67.3 feet, according to the data released by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
~ UC Davis news release
Wildfire Evacuation Tag Initiative
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is providing free “evacuated” tags for residents to place in a highly visible place such as a door, reflective address sign, mailbox, fence, or gate as they evacuate their residence during an emergency.
Evacuation tags are available to pick up at fire stations and county sheriff’s offices.
These tags will help first responders swiftly identify which homes have been evacuated so they can focus their attention on those who still need help and decrease overall evacuation times.
~ Nevada County Sheriff’s Office press release
Project Denied By Planning Commission Heads to Supervisors
On May 28, the Placer County planning commission voted 6-0-1 to deny the Kings Beach Lakeside Residential Project, a residential-commercial development, formally known as Laulima. The denial came about in light of community concern that the project isn’t a true mixed-use project.
Despite the decision, Laulima Partners LLC appealed and is seeking input from the board of supervisors. Heather Beckman, senior planner with the county, said she is waiting to hear back on the applicant’s timing for a hearing. Read Moonshine’s online exclusive, County Planning Commission Denies Laulima Project, online at moonshineink.com.
Funding Nearly Doubled for Nevada Parks, Open Space
The Land and Water Conservation Fund realized its full potential on June 17 with Congressional approval of a historic public lands package, the Great American Outdoors Act. This landmark legislation will permanently and fully fund the popular LWCF for the first time since its creation in 1964. LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leases to help strengthen communities, preserve history, and assure the physical, cultural, and spiritual benefits of outdoor recreation. Through the Great American Outdoors Act, Nevada will receive more than $4 million in annual LWCF funding — nearly doubling the prior annual allocation — to help fund Nevada-wide outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation programs.
~ Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources press release
County Makes it Easier to Build ADUs
The Placer County board of supervisors voted unanimously in early June to ease housing code restrictions in line with recent state law changes, making it easier to build accessory dwelling units in unincorporated parts of the county.
The update to the county’s zoning ordinance is intended to help increase the variety and supply of local affordable housing units. The approved zoning text amendment provides property owners with more flexible options to develop accessory dwelling units or junior accessory dwelling units to accommodate a family member or a potential renter.
Among the more significant changes, ADUs will now be allowed in neighborhoods zoned for multifamily dwellings including commercial planned development, general commercial, highway service, and neighborhood commercial zones. More information about building an ADU in unincorporated Placer County is available at placer.ca.gov/6495/accessory-dwelling-units.
~ Placer County press release
2020 Fires to Date In and Around the Region
Truckee: Efforts to extinguish a structure fire in the Lahontan community was hampered by high winds on June 28. However, no additional structures were damaged.
Reno: The Poeville Fire burned an estimated 3,500 acres in Northwest Reno, on the slopes of Peavine Mountain. Eight structures were burned. Cause of the fire was under investigation at press time, though it’s known to have started the evening of June 26. The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is seeking the public’s assistance regarding the fire. Contact Deputy Chief Dale Way at (775) 326-6005.
South Lake Tahoe: Due to multiple thunderstorms in the area on June 23, three fires were ignited by lightning in the South Lake area, and have since been extinguished. The Twin Peaks, Trail, and Sweetwater fires were all quickly doused thanks to action by local, state, and federal resources.
The Tallac Fire was contained at 2.2 acres near the Mt. Tallac trailhead along Highway 89 between Emerald Bay and Camp Richardson on July 1. No structures were affected. As of press time the cause was under investigation.
Incline Village: On June 17, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District extinguished a commercial structure fire at Alpine Boat Storage.
Sierra County: A vegetation fire burned 102 acres in the Tahoe National Forest on Feb. 17. By the next day, the fire was 100% contained.
Note: This is an overview compiled at press time and is not an exhaustive list.
~ AH, JD
County 2020 Election Turnout Results
A recap of the primary election in Washoe County was presented to commissioners at a mid-June meeting, the numbers of which are listed below:
2020 primary election final turnout by the numbers:
Total turnout: 95,824 (32.8%)
Democrat: 40,676 (38.82%)
Republican: 40,036 (38.50%)
Early voting: 1,625
Election day in-person: 1,479
~ Washoe County press release
Construction Atop the Summit
The Truckee Donner Historical Society is overseeing the upgrade to amenities at the summit pull-off where Sugar Bowl’s Donner Summit Lodge and the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Donner Pass Road.
This year, plans are in place to construct paths; renovate a large shed structure; restripe the asphalt and allow for ADA parking; install signage, benches and a shade structure; construct and place kiosks; construct a small amphitheater out of a grouping of rocks; and provide portable toilets for visitors. Money for this construction is provided through Placer County’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds for a “trailhead of trailheads.”
Buoy Ordinance Prohibits Motorized Watercraft
At the June 9 council meeting, the Town of Truckee council passed an urgent ordinance for boating on Donner Lake that prohibits motorized watercraft from passing the buoy line in the southeastern part of the lake, near its outlet and surrounded by Donner Memorial State Park. The area past the buoy line is very popular with swimmers and users of nonmotorized watercraft such as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and the presence of motorized watercraft in that area creates a potential for conflicts and injuries to swimmers and nonmotorized watercraft users.
~ Town of Truckee press release
Joint Litter Cleanup and Enforcement Effort
The California Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol have announced a statewide effort to resume litter removal on the state highways, which has been limited since March due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Caltrans maintenance workers and partnering programs are adhering to recommendations developed in consultation with licensed industrial hygienists to ensure safe working environments while conducting litter removal efforts during the current health crisis.
~ Caltrans, CHP press release
Committee to Improve Regional Social Justice Formed
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
On June 12, the Sierra Nevada Alliance board formed a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee to help advance our work in this area. Moving forward, issues of the Sierra Resource, a regional newsletter, will contain articles on social environmental justice and anti-racism resources for nonprofits. Those with ideas regarding how to best move forward in this work or would like to be part of the conversation are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Sierra Resource newsletter
Over $200,000 in Scholarships Given to Local Students
Eight graduating seniors from Truckee High School and North Tahoe High School will be headed to college this fall, thanks to more than $200,000 in funds granted from the Martis Camp Community Foundation. The final scholarship choices for 2020 from more than 120 applicants were made after deliberation on financial need, academics, extracurricular activities, and the submission essay quality. The recipients are:
- Nicole Heredia, $60,000 MCCF Scholarship
- Octavio Diaz, $24,000 MCCF Scholarship
- Ilse Ruiz-Castro, $20,000 Ambition Scholarship
- Anaka Hudson, $20,000 Ambition Scholarship
- Jaquelyne Velazquez-Gutierrez, $20,000 Ambition Scholarship
- Chloe Schaecher, $20,000 Ambition Scholarship
- Jayda Walsh, $20,000 Denise Martinez Scholarship
- Benito Gonzalez, $20,000 Denise Martinez Scholarship
~ MCCF press release
Four County Changes on the Ballot in November
A residency requirement for all Placer County elected officials will be decided by the voters in November — one of four recommended changes to the county charter. Each measure would require a simple majority to pass.
One recommended charter addition would require all county elected officials, not just the board of supervisors, to reside in Placer County. Existing law requires elected officers to be registered Placer County voters at the time of their appointment but does not require continued residency after that appointment.
The committee also recommended splitting the county civil service commission’s administrative and hearing duties, and assigning administrative duties to the human resources department. Two other measures would align the charter with the current county practices by removing a requirement for the board of supervisors to approve the appointment of non-elected department heads by the county executive officer and striking outdated procurement bid thresholds that are no longer consistent with state law.
~ Placer County press release
PUD Awards Energy Rebate to School District
The Truckee Donner Public Utility District recently awarded the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District $98,631 in energy efficiency rebates to support school projects. The rebate allowed the TTUSD to complete energy efficiency and lighting retrofit projects at Truckee Elementary and Truckee High schools. The cost-effective project is expected to save the school $7,500 to $9,000 annually for a period of 15 to 20 years.
~ TDPUD press release
Business Council to Lead Economic Development Initiatives
The Nevada County board of supervisors unanimously selected the Sierra Business Council to manage the county’s economic development initiatives, with a focus on business technical assistance, public-private sector coordination, and expanding internet access countywide.
Two of the contract’s key deliverables are providing technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs through the council’s Small Business Development Center and facilitating “warm handoffs” between new businesses looking to set up shop in Nevada County with the appropriate county staff. SBC intends to set up a satellite office in the Rood Center to maximize coordination, assist in permitting, and advise on multi-jurisdictional infrastructure and development projects.
The county’s $165,000 contract may be renewed for a one- or two-year extension in subsequent years.
~ Nevada County press release
Call for Artists
Applications are open through July 27 for the Ali Youssefi Project Artist in Residence program. Four artists will be accepted — two artists from outside of Sacramento and two artists from Sacramento. One of each residencies will be chosen for terms between October and December 2020 and January and March 2021. Both residents receive a $500-per-month stipend, a studio at Verge Center of the Arts, and participation in the AYP group show at Verge Gallery.
This project aims to nurture artists from a diverse range of backgrounds and uplift the work of artists, with a particular focus on underrepresented perspectives and voices. All visual artists are welcome. More information and applications can be found at aliyoussefiproject.com/artist-in-residency-program.
~ Ali Youssefi Project newsletter