December 2022 Conservancy Newsletter

Upper Truckee River

December 2022 Conservancy Newsletter

We are celebrating a major milestone at the Upper Truckee Marsh. Also, on the heels of the early snowfall last month, Governor Gavin Newsom and CAL FIRE announced the end of peak wildfire season in California. Read on for details on what we accomplished with our partners this year to reduce wildfire risk and increase forest resilience, highlights on our crews’ accomplishments, job opportunities at the California Tahoe Conservancy, and more.

Jason Vasques
Executive Director, California Tahoe Conservancy

Construction Complete for Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration

Upper Truckee River

Construction Complete for Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration

Major construction is complete for the multi-year Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration project. The Conservancy has completed steps to repair damage caused by 20th century development, restoring and enhancing hundreds of acres of wetland habitat. A new trail offers improved access for all to experience and enjoy the Lake’s shoreline.

“As the largest wetland restoration project in the Lake Tahoe Basin, this is a remarkable accomplishment,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Restoring this wetland will help keep Tahoe waters clean, provide great habitat for fish and wildlife, and be one more beautiful place we can all visit.”

Learn More about the Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration Project

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Community Forestry Program Updates

Community Forestry Program Updates

Upper Truckee River

Community Forestry Program Updates

The Conservancy owns and manages thousands of forested properties at Tahoe, mostly in and adjacent to communities. Our Community Forestry Program improves forest health and reduces risks from wildfire on these Conservancy lands. On adjacent lands, we coordinate with fire agencies and other land managers on projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan. This complementary work enhances community wildfire protection and reduces risks to the natural landscape. Some of this year’s accomplishments include:

Forestry and Land Management Crews Wrap Up the Field Season

Upper Truckee River

Forestry and Land Management Crews Wrap Up the Field Season

The Conservancy’s field crews, which we organize in partnership with Tahoe RCD, have wrapped up a productive season, completing 245 projects on Conservancy property. Highlights include:

  • Reduced hazardous forest fuels on the Conservancy’s open space lots in communities throughout the California side of the Basin.
  • Removed 65 hazard trees.
  • Completed 17 restoration projects, including removing 5,000 square feet of asphalt from environmentally sensitive land on a Conservancy property near Tahoe City.
  • Monitored for and removed invasive weeds.
  • Helped repair Conservancy lots damaged as a side effect of efforts to fight the 2021 Caldor Fire.
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Want to join a great team helping to protect a national treasure? We have an opening with our Tahoe Livable Communities program: 

Join us to help restore and enhance Tahoe’s extraordinary natural and recreational resources. Learn more about working for the Conservancy.

Conservancy Staff Updates

Farewells

Sue Ewbank

Sue Ewbank

The Conservancy congratulates Sue Ewbank on her retirement following years of outstanding service to the Conservancy and the people of the Lake Tahoe Basin and the State of California. As a critical member of the Conservancy fiscal team, Sue supported the Conservancy’s programs and operations through her guidance on contracting, grants, and procurement. Sue’s work resulted in the Conservancy receiving an award from the State of California for increasing our work with small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises. She made important and lasting contributions to the agency’s work to advance racial equity and better serve all Californians, regardless of race. Sue originally joined the Conservancy in 2007 to work at our office’s front desk. Her coworkers have appreciated Sue for her humor, her problem-solving support, and her commitment to equity. We all wish her the best in her retirement.

Forest Schafer

Forest Schafer

The Conservancy says goodbye to Forest Schafer, who departs for a new position with the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force. Forest most recently served as Director of the Conservancy’s Natural Resources Division, overseeing the watershed, forestry, and climate and biodiversity programs. Forest joined the Conservancy staff in 2017 as Forest Science and Management Coordinator. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Forest spent nine years serving with the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. We wish him the best in his new role.

New Roles

Whitney Brennan, Ph.D.

Whitney Brennan, Ph.D.

Landscape Resilience Supervisor

Whitney Brennan has accepted the position as the Conservancy’s new Landscape Resilience Supervisor. In her new role, Whitney will oversee the Landscape Resilience Program’s broad portfolio of forestry and resilience initiatives, as well as efforts to integrate biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation throughout the Conservancy’s work. Whitney joined the Conservancy staff in 2014. She worked as wildlife biologist and led the Conservancy’s climate program. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Whitney had most recently served as a Biologist/Associate Environmental Planner for Caltrans. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Kenyon College and her doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis.

Stuart Roll

Stuart Roll

Acting Director of Natural Resources

Stuart Roll is now serving as the Conservancy’s Acting Director of the Natural Resources Division. In his new role, Stuart will oversee the Conservancy’s watershed, recreation, community forestry, landscape resilience, and climate change programs. Stuart joined the Conservancy’s team in 2002, working on the forestry crew organized jointly with the Tahoe RCD. Prior to his new role, he had been supervising the Conservancy’s watershed and recreation programs since 2012. Stuart oversaw such efforts as the Blackwood Creek Restoration Project, the Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway, and overall strategy for Upper Truckee River Watershed restoration. Stuart earned his Bachelor of Science degree in geological sciences from Brown University.

Scott Carroll

Scott Carroll

Acting Watershed Program Supervisor

Scott Carroll is now serving as the Conservancy’s Acting Watershed Program Supervisor. In his new role, Scott will oversee the Conservancy’s work to restore watersheds in the Lake Tahoe Basin and expand equitable access. Scott has been with the Conservancy since 2005, and he has led many of the agency’s large-scale wetland and stream projects in that time, including the recently completed Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration, Lake Forest Creek Restoration Project, and the Upper Truckee River Airport Reach Restoration. Scott earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Boston College and a Master of Science degree in watershed management from Humboldt State University.

Plates For Powder Returns

Ski For Free at a Tahoe Area Resort When You Buy a Tahoe License Plate

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Tahoe-area ski resorts are opening early, and our partners with the Tahoe Fund have launched Plates for Powder, an annual program that offers free skiing opportunities to those who purchase a Lake Tahoe license plate. Proceeds from California Tahoe plate sales and renewals support the Conservancy’s work.

For the first time ever, all 14 Tahoe-area ski resorts are participating in the program, allowing California and Nevada drivers who buy a new Lake Tahoe license plate to receive a free day pass, to be used during the 2022-23 winter season. Participating resorts include: Boreal, Diamond Peak, Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Northstar California, Palisades Tahoe, Royal Gorge, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, Tahoe Cross Country, Tahoe City Winter Sports Park and Tahoe Donner.

Find information on how to purchase your plate and redeem your free lift ticket by visiting tahoeplates.org.

Upcoming California Tahoe Conservancy Board Meetings

The California Tahoe Conservancy Board will meet virtually on December 15, 2022. An agenda will be available on the Conservancy website ten days prior to the meeting.

Show Your Love for Tahoe While Protecting It

When you order a California Lake Tahoe license plate, you help build biking and hiking trails, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and protect Lake Tahoe’s famous beaches and blue waters. 96 percent of all funds from Tahoe plate sales come back to Lake Tahoe. 

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Show Your Love for Tahoe While Protecting It

When you order a California Lake Tahoe license plate, you help build biking and hiking trails, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and protect Lake Tahoe’s famous beaches and blue waters. 96 percent of all funds from Tahoe plate sales come back to Lake Tahoe.