March 2021 Conservancy Newsletter
It’s winter, yet some of the Conservancy’s fieldwork continues—staff is able to conduct more prescribed burning when there is snow on the ground. Most of us, however, are thinking about the year ahead. Staff is already preparing projects for the coming field season. Hiring has begun for seasonal forestry and restoration crews.
The new year has started with good news for Tahoe from Sacramento and Washington. Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget and Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan will accelerate projects that reduce wildfire risk on state-owned lands in Tahoe. The Biden Administration has issued executive orders that address environmental justice and strengthen tribal engagement. The new Administration has joined California in committing to protect biodiversity by conserving 30 percent of lands and coastal waters by 2030. The Conservancy looks forward to continuing to collaborate with our federal, tribal, state, and local partners to ensure our projects and initiatives address these important goals.
Acting Executive Director, California Tahoe Conservancy
Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan
Following the most destructive wildfire season in California’s history, Governor Newsom and legislators are working together to protect Californians from catastrophic wildfire risks. In his budget, the Governor has proposed investments to harden homes, build protective fuel breaks, and complete projects that improve the health of the State’s forested landscapes. These proposed investments build on California’s new Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. If retained in the final state budget, they will accelerate the reduction of wildfire risk in communities, and expand the use of prescribed fire to restore the resilience of our forest ecosystems.
Tahoe’s Largest Ever Affordable Housing Project Advances
The largest multiple-family affordable housing project in the history of the Lake Tahoe Basin is moving ahead on public land owned by the State of California in the Y-area of South Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved the project in January. Developers will continue with plans to construct 248 affordable housing units. The Conservancy and its partners initiated this effort in 2019 to help fulfill Governor Newsom’s executive order to make certain state lands available for affordable housing. In 2020 the Conservancy transferred the land for the project, resulting in the California Department of Housing and Community Development having jurisdiction over the parcels.
30 by 30 Biodiversity and Land Conservation
The Conservancy is adapting its land, resource, and sustainable communities programs to prioritize the goals of the State’s recent executive order on conserving biodiversity. In October 2020 Governor Newsom committed to protecting 30 percent of California’s land and coastal water by 2030. The Conservancy will continue to integrate biodiversity conservation into all of its work.
Conservancy Staff Updates
Director of the Natural Resources Division – This role leads the Conservancy’s programs on climate change, forest health, recreation and public access, and watersheds. Learn more.
Forestry Aides – Four openings for seasonal aides to support projects that improve forest health and protect Tahoe communities from the threat of wildfire. Learn more.
Field Crews – Visit the Tahoe Resource Conservation District website for information about seasonal crew positions to implement forestry, restoration, and land management projects on Conservancy lands.
Elena Neigher joined the Conservancy in February as a Staff Attorney. She most recently worked in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, primarily on land use, water, real property, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) matters. Prior to law school, Elena worked at a small urban planning firm in San Francisco on various CEQA and environmental review processes. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Davis, and earned her Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Luke joined the Conservancy in January as a legal intern working remotely from Colorado. He focuses on land use and development issues involving Conservancy-owned properties. Luke is in his second year at the University of Colorado Law School, where he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Review. Prior to law school Luke worked as a data analyst for the cybersecurity division of a large healthcare company, and also coached a high school rowing team based in Oakland. He studied Environmental Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Upcoming California Tahoe Conservancy Board Meetings
The California Tahoe Conservancy Board will meet on March 18, 2021. California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and a panel of state and federal executives will discuss building community and climate resilience in the Basin. This meeting will take place virtually, with a teleconference option, to protect the health of Board members, staff, and the public. An agenda and more meeting details will be available on the Conservancy website ten days prior to the meeting.
Lake Tahoe in the News
California Tahoe Conservancy awards over $340,000 to Washoe Tribe to restore Meeks Meadow – South Tahoe Now, December 15, 2020
City to host online meeting for input on ’56 Acre Project’ – Tahoe Daily Tribune, January 4, 2021
New plan will reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health at Tahoe – Tahoe Daily Tribune, January 24, 2021
As storm sets up to pummel Tahoe, meteorologists forecast a future without snow – SFGATE, January 26, 2021
Put Your License Plate Fees to Work for Tahoe
Show off your love and support of protecting Lake Tahoe by ordering your California Lake Tahoe license plate. 96 percent of the fees generated from license plate sales come back to Lake Tahoe, resulting in more hiking and biking trails as well as water quality and restoration projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. New Tahoe license plate fees benefiting the Tahoe Basin are $50. The annual renewal fee is $40. Personalized plates are also available for additional fees.