NTPUD Capital Improvements Focus on Efficiency

In the last three years, the North Tahoe Public Utility District has spent $5.8 million on upgrades to their sewer and water systems, using grants to leverage the public’s dollars to increase efficiency. Of that total, 21 percent, or $1.2 million, was constructed using grant funds from the U.S. Forest Service through the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act to support new water tanks and upgrades to water lines, including fire hydrants and increased water line sizes for improved fire flow.

All upgrades are done with an eye toward increased efficiency — replacing leaking water pipes conserves water and reduces pumping costs.


The NTPUD also recently completed the new Tahoe Vista Recreation Area parking lot with 86 spaces, 24 of which have trailer pull-through spaces, and the new 1.3 million gallon Zone 1 Water Tank off of Highway 267, which increased the District’s storage capacity by 56 percent.

The Secline Sewer Pump Station rehabilitation project is the first in a 10-year plan to rehabilitate the district’s four main sewer pump stations along the lake shore with high-efficiency pumps and rehabilitation of wet wells. These stations are the most critical and technologically advanced part of the district’s sewer system and have the highest potential for efficiency upgrades and reduction of risk of sewage overflow. Info: ntpud.org

Transit Center Opens

Placer County’s Transit Center in Tahoe City opened for business on Oct. 29. The new, state-of-the-art facility features six bus bays, a 1,100-square-foot terminal with an indoor, heated waiting area with restrooms, and a covered outdoor waiting area with bench seating for passengers as they transfer to or await arriving buses. In all, 130 parking spaces plus several enclosed bike lockers with an electronic pay-per-use system and more traditional bike racks have been installed. The center covers about 2.5 acres adjacent to hiking and bike paths.

A high-tech display system, Nextbus, has been installed inside the building to inform passengers on the arrival time of their buses. The system provides online real-time locations of on-route buses and predicted arrival times of TART buses at all stops on all routes. The information can be accessed via text messaging or smartphone at nextbus.com.

The Transit Center is part of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Environmental Improvement Project program to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, which in turn will benefit lake clarity. The project is also consistent with numerous agency transportation plans, community plans, and studies. It is a $4.5 million construction project funded largely by federal and state transportation grants along with Placer County Transient Occupancy Tax funds. Info: 165 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, placer.ca.gov/tart

Placer Approves Funds for Mental Health Center

The Placer County Board of Supervisors committed $500,000 in state funding last month to support the Community House of Kings Beach, a proposed drop-in center for mental health and support services.

The funds will help finance the purchase and renovation of a former motel and residence at 265 Bear St. in Kings Beach by the Community House of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. The foundation has completed its purchase of the site and has started renovation work.

The property will be turned into a community center that will house the project’s three main partners: the Tahoe Safe Alliance, North Tahoe Family Resource Center, and Project MANA. The center will also provide desks for other service providers, four individual counseling rooms, a children’s therapy area, and designated space for family team meetings. The community center is expected to serve about 3,000 people annually.

Asian Clam Control Project Underway

Until Nov. 22, boaters heading to Lake Tahoe may experience a short delay when entering Emerald Bay due to an Asian clam control project.

The six-week project is being implemented by a team of partners from the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program, with plans to treat an area of up to five acres at the mouth of Emerald Bay. Treatment will be accomplished by covering the infested lake bottom with thin rubber barriers, augmented with organic material, that reduce the available oxygen and smother the clams. It will be the largest project of its type in the history of Lake Tahoe.

Boaters are advised to use extra caution when entering Emerald Bay during this period and to avoid endangering members of the dive team. Boats entering or exiting Emerald Bay between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. may be subject to short delays in order to ensure safe passage for the divers and control vessels.

“This is a physically demanding undertaking. The project team is laying down over 4 miles of barriers in very cold water at the mouth of Emerald Bay, where water currents are known to fluctuate rapidly,” said Dr. Geoffrey Schladow, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

The barriers will be left in place for approximately one year in order to achieve clam mortality. Crews will return for three weeks in the fall of 2013 to remove the barriers.

The Asian clam infestation at Emerald Bay is in the early stages of invasion, and is currently small enough to manage through an effective prevention and control program. Without treatment, the population can grow rapidly and become extremely difficult and expensive to control. Info: Kristi Boosman, TRPA, kboosman@trpa.org, (775) 589-5230

Truckee Green Network Launches Website

The Truckee Green Network is a website that informs residents about local green businesses, non-profits, and events. The network is sponsored by five partners: Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Green Builders Association, Slow Food Lake Tahoe, the Town of Truckee’s Keep Truckee Green project, and the Truckee Trails Foundation.

“The Truckee Green Network website will provide a comprehensive source of information including green organizations’ mission descriptions, links to their websites, and an event calendar all in one place,” said John Sorensen, a former Silicon Valley aviation technology entrepreneur. The Truckee Green Network was founded by Sorensen and Bob Miller, a resident of Wolf Creek Lodge co-housing in Grass Valley. Info: info@tgnw.org, tgnw.org

Truckee River Watershed Receives ‘Treasured Landscape’ Designation

The Truckee River watershed has recently been designated a “treasured landscape” as part of the National Forest Foundation’s “Treasured Landscapes – Unforgettable Experiences” program.

“As one of the 14 designated ‘Treasured Landscape’ sites nationwide, our goals for the Truckee River watershed are to ensure healthy forests and healthy and abundant water in the Truckee River watershed in conjunction with the community,” said Vance Russell, National Forest Foundation California director. “There are many beautiful National Forests, but the Truckee River stood out due to the partnerships and the community support for its restoration.”

Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn commended the Truckee River Watershed Council for its ongoing role in generating interest and support for the restoration of the Truckee River.

Lisa Wallace, executive director of the Truckee River Watershed Council, said she expects the designation to translate into on-the-ground restoration.

“We are excited to be part of this effort, and look forward to the restoration accomplishments that this new partnership will bring to our streams, meadows, wetlands, and forests,” said Wallace.

The Truckee River watershed is 234,000 acres and includes public land within the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The primary objective will be to complete key restoration work by 2017. Impacts to the watershed have occurred over the past 150 years, and date back to the construction of the transcontinental railroad and the discovery of gold and silver. Info: nationalforests.org/ca

Rec and Park District Weighs Veteran’s Hall Sale

The Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District is investigating the sale of the Veteran’s Hall building where Truckee’s noted Rocking Stone is located.

In November 2011, Tahoe Forest Church asked the district about renting the building. To do so, the church would have to complete an estimated $125,000 to $150,000 of work to develop parking, according to the rec and park district. The church then asked to buy the building.

The district currently spends $20,000 per year to maintain the building. The activities that previously occurred at the Veteran’s Hall now take place at the new community center.

In August, the recreation and park district designated the building as surplus. They also completed an agreement with Nevada County to remove a deed restriction on the property that stated that if the building was not used for recreation, the ownership would revert back to the county. The district bought the building from the county in 1994 for $1. In exchange for removing the deed restriction, Nevada County received one acre of land below the Veteran’s Hall building and will receive 12.5 percent of the building’s sale price.

The Veteran’s Hall was first proposed by the Truckee American Legion Post 439. It was purchased by Nevada County in 1939 for $1,500. From World War II on, the building was the site of many Truckee meetings, dances and parties. Truckee High School played all of their home basketball games in the building until the new high school was built in 1952.

The rec and park district said it will not vote on a sale of the property until the “conditional use permit” sought by Tahoe Forest Church is heard before the Truckee Planning Commission.

~ David Bunker/Moonshine Ink


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