June 2020 Conservancy Newsletter
Like so many others, the Conservancy has operated remotely since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that, this recent time has been a surprisingly productive period for our agency. Work has begun on multiple long-planned projects, including the largest wetland restoration in Tahoe’s history at the Upper Truckee Marsh. We are also lining up our forestry crew, advancing affordable housing on our lands, and continuing efforts to hasten climate change adaptation.
While the season ahead will be one like no other for Tahoe, we look forward to continued progress. We are coordinating with our Basin partners to ensure a consistent approach to managing recreation lands at Tahoe. And, of course, we continue to focus on keeping our staff and the public safe as we go about our work.
Executive Director, California Tahoe Conservancy
Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration Underway
In an effort to address some of the past century’s biggest mistakes at Tahoe, the Conservancy has launched the largest wetland restoration in the history of the Lake Tahoe Basin: the Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration Project. Watch our new video to learn more.
Improving Public Access and Restoring Habitat at Tahoe Pines
The Conservancy has begun building new accessible-to-all trails and other public access features at its Tahoe Pines property in Meyers. The 8.1-acre site on the Upper Truckee River was once home to the defunct Tahoe Pines Campground. The Conservancy will also create new wetlands and restore habitat along Lake Tahoe’s largest tributary. Learn more
The Conservancy’s Land Management Program is busy planning restoration and forest health projects for the coming field season. Staff continues to inspect our properties and address citizen reports. All Conservancy lands are open for recreation, although everyone should continue to maintain physical distancing, exercise caution to avoid crowded parking areas, and stay home if you are sick.
Crew Kicks Off Field Season
In partnership with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, a new forestry crew is starting work for the Conservancy this week. To ensure everyone’s health, please do not approach crew members in the field with questions or comments. Instead, phone the Conservancy main line at (530) 542-5580 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Tahoe Greenway Construction Moves Ahead
El Dorado County is making progress building Phases 1b and 2 of the South Tahoe Greenway. This shared-use trail provides the backbone of non-motorized travel in the south shore area. Phases 1b and 2 will connect several neighborhoods and the Lake Tahoe Community College. Photo: Gavin Feiger.
Affordable Housing on Conservancy “Asset Lands”
More than 60 people participated in a virtual public meeting hosted by the Conservancy and its partners on April 23 to update community members about housing needs and potential solutions using Conservancy asset lands near the South Tahoe “Y.” You can view a recording of the meeting and the meeting slides at tahoe.ca.gov/south-tahoe-y.
Conservancy Staff Updates
Sarah Barth joined the Conservancy as a seasonal Forestry Aide in May. She recently served as a crew member for American Conservation Experience on forest health and fuels reduction projects and building and maintaining trails. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science degree in geography and environmental planning from Towson University.
Lot Inspector / Land Steward, Tahoe Resource Conservation District
Haley Lazar has joined the Conservancy’s Land Management team. She will be working through the Tahoe RCD to perform lot inspection and land steward duties for the Conservancy. Prior to her new role, Haley had served as a Student Assistant with the Conservancy since March 2018. She earned her degree in environmental science and ecology from Sierra Nevada College in 2019.
Alani Worden joined the Conservancy as a seasonal Forestry Aide in May. She recently served on a natural resources crew for the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks, working on forest health and fuel reduction projects and weed management. Alani has a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry & natural resources from the University of California, Berkeley.
Joe Pepi retired from the Conservancy this spring after 20 years of service with the Conservancy. His accomplishments include bringing the Tahoe Pines restoration project (see above) to its construction phase as well as helping to lead other large restoration projects, such as the Upper Truckee River Reach 5 Restoration and the Lower West Side/ Cove East Restoration Project. When the Conservancy acquired developed properties on environmentally sensitive lands, Joe frequently led the necessary demolition of structures so that site restoration could advance. Joe also served as the Conservancy’s soils expert for environmental and land capability assessments. The Conservancy is grateful to Joe for his years of efforts to protect and restore the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Jack Mathias has left the Conservancy staff after seven years of service to accept a position with California State Parks – Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District. As a member of the Conservancy’s Land Management Program, Jack spearheaded many restoration projects on Conservancy lands that will continue to provide significant improvements for wildlife habitat and water quality for years to come. We wish him the best in his new role on the coast.
Upcoming California Tahoe Conservancy Board Meetings
The California Tahoe Conservancy Board will meet on June 25, 2020. This meeting will be held online to protect the health of Board members, staff, and the public. When more details become available, they will be posted to the Conservancy website. An agenda will be available on the Conservancy website ten days prior to the meeting.
Lake Tahoe in the News
Construction of new phases of South Tahoe Greenway Shared-Use Trail underway – CarsonNow.org- April 24, 2020
Old Tahoe Pines Campground restoration to include picnic area parking & trails – South Tahoe Now, May 4, 2020
Agencies extend deadline for public input on Tahoe West Restoration – Tahoe Daily Tribune, May 8, 2020
Seasonal dog closure at Upper Truckee Marsh in South Lake Tahoe – South Tahoe Now, May 10, 2020