Newsletter: June/July 2017

Long-term planning activities are currently setting the stage for what future proposed and approved projects in our area will look like!           

Although there may be fewer large projects undergoing the environmental review process at this time, there are still regulatory changes being considered that could have long-term implications for our area (some positive, some negative). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following (details follow in Newsletter):

  • The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is evaluating how vehicle impacts are measured, which dictates the extent to which future projects must address traffic. For example, TRPA's current "vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) standard regulates vehicle impacts solely on a basin-wide scale, thereby allowing new projects that worsen local VMT (i.e. in some years, the VMT increased in the north shore but decreased in the south shore, yet project impacts were only compared at the basin-wide scale where these changes were averaged together, thereby failing to consider the local VMT increases in North and West Shore communities).


  • The TRPA has also initiated a process to update the agency's environmental standards. If revisions weaken environmental protections, then future projects will be allowed to create additional negative impacts.


FOWS will remain diligent in our efforts to influence projects and plans and keep you informed. If you a re looking to get more involved in planning for the future of the West Shore, there are many ways you can help! In addition, if you belong to a Homeowners Association (HOA) on the West Shore, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you and your neighbors as you gather for your annual HOA meetings this year. Please contact us for more information.   

Last, but not least, FOWS looks forward to celebrating our 10-year anniversary with members and supporters as part of our upcoming community p arty on Wednesday, August 23. We hope to see you there!


Susan Gearhart 
President, Friends of the West Shore     
Regional and Local Planning Updates:
Measuring transportation impacts/benefits:

TRPA staff recently prepared a draft report providing information regarding 217 variations of transportation-related metrics from TRPA and other nationwide planning entities (see summary in staff report). While FOWS is concerned changes to TRPA metrics could weaken protections, we are also encouraged by some of the potential metrics that could help improve the assessment of Tahoe's transportation system.
TRPA update of Environmental Threshold Standards:

Beginning this year, TRPA launched the Threshold Update Initiative Process to consider revisions to the TRPA environmental standards that serve as the basis for the protection of Lake Tahoe's resources (e.g. lake clarity, air quality, etc.). TRPA staff prepared an overview evaluating how well existing standards meet certain criteria, including but not limited to how easily conditions can be measured and whether the standards are supported by current science. FOWS is following this process closely, and will continue to advocate for threshold standards that are based on sound science and the protection of Tahoe's natural resources.   
Shoreline Plan:

The Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the proposed TRPA Shoreline Plan was released on July 12. The Plan will update goals, policies, and regulations focused on structures such as marinas, piers, buoys, ramps, and boat slips, and other planning issues. Comments on the NOP are due August 16, and public meetings will be held on 7/26 (North Shore) and 8/9 (South Shore). Learn more here.

Project Updates:
Homewood Mountain Resort (HMR): 

The Settlement Agreement between the owner of HMR, Placer County, and the California Clean Energy Committee (CCEC) was finalized, which requires an Emergency Evacuation Plan (Plan). The Plan (released in September 2016) includes a new fire station, more equipment, and additional staff for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District (NTFPD) as well as the implementation of a "shelter in place" concept. FOWS is ready to assist the NTFPD with a
Proposed gondola route through Wilderness Area (larger image).

public meeting next year regarding the new Plan. At this time, the NTFPD is waiting for final development plans before proceeding. Thus, construction of the new resort expansion has also been delayed.

Alpine Meadows to Squaw Valley Base-to-Base Gondola:

The corporate owner of the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts is proposing construction of a new gondola between the resorts that will cut through the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, which includes the Five Lakes Trail hiking area. Numerous conservation organizations, including FOWS, have expressed opposition to the proposed route, advocating for an alternative alignment to be evaluated. Not only are we concerned with the impacts to the Wilderness Area, but also the potential precedent that could be set. The Forest Service is currently conducting studies for use in the draft EIR/S, which may be released later this year or in 2018.

Meeks Bay Marina:

Numerous water quality violations at the Meeks Bay Marina , which is owned by the U.S Forest Service (USFS) and operated by the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada through a Special Use Permit, led to the closure of the marina and settlement talks between the USFS and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Although a final agreement has not yet been reached, the USFS is currently developing a proposal for the site. The USFS recently provided a status update to the Water Board, indicating a Notice of Preparation (which will discuss future options) may be released in late September.  

Lake Tahoe West Forest Restoration Partnership:

The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, led by the National Forest Foundation, is aimed at improving the health of the West Shore's forests and planning for long-term restoration. A FOWS representative is a member on the "Stakeholder Science Committee," where scientific experts assess the best options for improving and sustaining healthy forests along the West Shore and beyond. We will keep you informed as the process proceeds.
Fanny Bridge/SR 89 Highway Realignment Project:
"Phase 1" construction has started on the new bypass bridge, road, and two roundabouts at either end. "Phase 2" is scheduled for 2018 and includes construction of a new roundabout at the Tahoe City Wye and the replacement of Fanny Bridge. (Learn more). 
Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan (VSVSP):
We will keep you updated as the legal process associated with Sierra Watch's lawsuit against Placer County continues.
Martis Valley West Parcel Specific Plan (MVWPSP):

The Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Watch, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe filed their opening legal document ( read legal brief) with the court on 6/30.

Easy ways to help FOWS! 
Save Mart:
Did you know that up to 3% of your purchase at Save Mart and other stores can be donated to FOWS at no extra cost to you? A program previously known as "SHARES" allows shoppers to designate FOWS to receive donations earned through their purchases. Sign up for a new account or register your existing account through this link, then you simply provide your phone number at checkout and funds are donated to FOWS. It's easy and there is no cost to you!

Amazon Smile:
We've joined the Amazon Smile program; all you have to do is order from Amazon through this link and 0.5% of your purchase will be donated to FOWS at no additional cost to you!     
Link to Amazon Smile 


We invite you to contact us to learn more, ask questions, or simply get to know the FOWS Board.  

Please contact Jennifer Quashnick, FOWS Conservation Consultant, at:, or Susan Gearhart, FOWS President, at: or (530) 525-0368. 
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