September 2019 Conservancy Newsletter

Upper Truckee River

September 2019 Conservancy Newsletter

Tahoe has had its first snow, and our staff, crews, and contractors are working hard to finish this season’s projects.

Last month, we welcomed new governors for both California and Nevada to the annual Lake Tahoe Summit. With resilience to climate change as the Summit’s major theme, the Conservancy was proud to collaborate with its 20 other partners in the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team to deliver a comprehensive Forest Action Plan to protect the health and safety of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s forests, communities, and visitors (see more below).

Climate change is here, and it has changed everything, including fire risk to the Sierra Nevada. But we are also already adapting. We now have the partnerships and the big picture plans in place to speed up the pace and scale of forest restoration at Tahoe. We have much to do, but we’re moving forward.

Patrick Wright
Executive Director, California Tahoe Conservancy

Planning Continues on Climate Adaptation Action Plan for Tahoe

Planning Continues on Climate Adaptation Action Plan for Tahoe

This month, the Conservancy hosted federal, state, and local agencies and research and nonprofit partners to continue development of the Climate Adaptation Action Plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin. Stakeholders reviewed a draft analysis of gaps in Basinwide climate planning, and began identifying potential actions to address such gaps. The next step is the development of the draft action plan itself, in which agencies will voluntarily commit to actions they will take over the next few years to address climate change impacts. Learn more

Managing the Conservancy’s Lands

Did you ever wonder how the Conservancy manages its nearly 4,700 properties in the Lake Tahoe Basin? Watch our new video to learn more.

Old U.S. Highway 50 Restoration

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District crew removed a 10,000-square-foot paved section of the old U.S. Highway 50 alignment on Conservancy land near the intersection of today’s Highway 50 in Meyers. Removing the asphalt helps restore environmentally-sensitive land that drains to the nearby Upper Truckee River in Meyers.

Protecting a Threatened Plant That Grows Only At Lake Tahoe

You can find Tahoe Yellow Cress in the Lake Tahoe Basin and nowhere else. This plant thrives best in the narrow band of sandy beaches surrounding Lake Tahoe. A California endangered species, Tahoe Yellow Cress occupies a precarious position: beaches shrink during high water years, and erosion from waves or people walking through can easily disturb its habitat.

Conservancy crews recently repaired the enclosure around one of the largest patches of Tahoe Yellow Cress near the mouth of the Upper Truckee River. Evan Osgood, Crew Supervisor, shared that for many of the crew members, the opportunity to protect a rare and endangered species like this is a big part of what motivates them to sign up for the job.

Tahoe Yellow Cress - USDA Forest Service

Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan

Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan

In August, the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT), a coalition of Lake Tahoe federal, tribal, state, and local entities—including the Conservancy—released its comprehensive Forest Action Plan [PDF] to protect the health and safety of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s forests, communities, and visitors. The Forest Action Plan integrates the work of nearly two dozen conservation, land management, and fire agencies, including the Conservancy.

The Plan has a three-tiered strategy: 1) expand the pace and scale of restoration through landscape-scale projects that cover all ownerships; 2) build greater capacity for these efforts by expanding the workforce, strategically using prescribed fire, and supporting markets for biomass and small diameter trees; and 3) leverage new technology, including high resolution satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to map forest structure and wildfire risk. Learn more.

Visiting the Upper Truckee Marsh

Visiting the Upper Truckee Marsh

Our friends with California Highway Patrol in South Lake Tahoe created this video for visitors to the Upper Truckee Marsh. We’re grateful to the CHP officers who patrol the Marsh and other Conservancy lands. Watch now.

Touring Proposition 1 Projects with the California Department of Water Resources

Touring Proposition 1 Projects with the California Department of Water Resources

In late September, the Conservancy’s fiscal and watershed teams hosted staff from the California Department of Water Resources bond unit for a tour of projects that were awarded Proposition 1 grants by the Conservancy. Joined by staff from the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), the group toured Johnson Meadow. Tahoe RCD acquired Johnson Meadow in 2018, partly funded by a Proposition 1 grant from the Conservancy. The group also visited erosion control projects in El Dorado County that received Proposition 1 grants for planning and implementation.

Gayle Miller Joins Conservancy Board

Gayle Miller

Gayle Miller

California Tahoe Conservancy Board Member

Gayle Miller, chief deputy of policy at the California Department of Finance, has joined the Conservancy Board. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Miller to her role earlier in 2019. Miller had previously served as senior policy advisor for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration since 2018. She was deputy controller, director of policy in the Office of the State Controller from 2017 to 2018. She served as a principal consultant in the Office of the California State Senate President pro Tempore from 2016 to 2018. She held several positions in the California State Senate, including consultant in the Office of Research from 2014 to 2016, staff director for the Governance and Finance Committee from 2006 to 2014 and principal consultant at the Revenue and Taxation Committee from 2001 to 2005. She was director of government affairs at Anthem Blue Cross from 2005 to 2006, legislative director in the Office of Assemblymember Alan Lowenthal from 1999 to 2001 and legislative aid and Assembly fellow in the Office of Assemblymember Tom Torlakson from 1997 to 1999. Miller earned a Master of Business Administration degree in strategy and communications from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Business Administration degree in economics and finance from Columbia University.

Conservancy Staff Grows

Aga Kuligowski

Aga Kuligowski

Accounting Officer

Aga Kuligowski joined the Conservancy in early September as an Accounting Officer. Aga is diving into all things accounts payable at the moment, and will be taking on increasing responsibilities regarding fiscal oversight of the Conservancy’s grants. Her experience includes working in public accounting for a firm here in South Lake Tahoe, where she recently passed the CPA exam.

Upcoming California Tahoe Conservancy Board Meetings

The Conservancy Board will meet on October 10, 2019 in South Lake Tahoe, California. View the Board meeting agenda.

Lake Tahoe in the News

TahoeLand Podcast

TahoeLand Podcast

Capital Public Radio

Capital Public Radio’s TahoeLand podcast is nearly complete. In its eight episodes, the show’s reporters and guests dive into how climate change is changing everything about the Lake Tahoe Basin, from lake clarity to fire risk to the local economy. Throughout its production, the TahoeLand team has been in touch with Conservancy staff to fact check their reporting on climate projections for the coming years. Check it out.