Newsletter: January/February 2018

Wishing you all good health & good times at Lake Tahoe in 2018!!
Community activism matters!  
It has been a busy 2017, and we expect more of the same in 2018. Highlights related to anticipated land use changes include the following (more details provided in the newsletter):   

  • TRPA will continue to focus on its "Strategic Initiatives," which in some cases are laying the groundwork for updates to the TRPA Regional Plan. The initiatives will:
    • Examine new ways to regulate development of residential, tourist, and commercial uses ("development rights").
    • Revise the environmental standards TRPA must achieve.
    • Allow more piers, buoys, and boats on Lake Tahoe. 
  • Project proposals include restoration/redevelopment of the Meeks Bay Resort and use of chemical herbicides in the Tahoe Keys lagoons; and
  • Regional projects that will increase traffic and pollution in the Tahoe basin, including projects in Squaw Valley, Martis Valley, and Alpine Meadows.
Unfortunately, missing from the list of priority TRPA (and Placer County) regulatory actions is the need to revise policies, plans, and projects to effectively adapt to climate change. As we have seen in recent years, our current development patterns do not hold up well during severe events including wildfires and flooding - both of which are anticipated to increase with climate change. For example, while TRPA contemplates how to allow more piers, buoys and boat ramps, there are no initiatives focused on amending the Regional Plan to accommodate anticipated increases in flooding nor specifically address traffic congestion and emergency access issues during peak visitor periods. FOWS will continue to encourage TRPA, Placer County, and other entities to take significant actions to address adaptation to climate change and emergency access. Our environment , a nd our safety, depend on it.    
We also have some announcements to share with you! Judith Tornese has been elected as the new President for FOWS (effective 1/8). Her efforts over the past ten years have helped make FOWS what it is today, and we are very pleased that she will continue in her new capacity. I will remain on the FOWS Board as the Vice President. We both look forward to continuing FOWS efforts in 2018! On that note, please add Judi's email address ( to your contact lists so you'll be sure to receive future FOWS newsletters!    
Judith Tornese, President
Susan Gearhart, Vice President   
PS: You may have noticed a shift in our bi-monthly schedule (from December/January to January/February) to better reflect timing of the newsletter. 
Regional and Local Planning Updates:
TRPA New Shoreline Plan:
The proposed Shoreline Plan will mean more motorized watercraft on Lake Tahoe.

At the 12/13 TRPA Regional Plan Implementation Committee meeting, the following amendments were made to two of the alternatives that will be analyzed in the upcoming environmental impact report/study:
  • The proposed "Motor-free Mondays" concept was removed from consideration; and
  • The level of analysis for an alternative that proposed substantial development was reduced to recognize that such an alternative would not be allowed.
Project Updates:
Map of findings related to fire return interval
Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership:
In December 2017, the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership completed Phase 1 of the Lake Tahoe West (LTW) project: the Landscape Resilience Assessment. The Assessment uses the best available data to describe the current condition of the natural environment of the west side of the basin and its resilience* to a variety of disturbances (e.g. wildfire, drought, bark beetles).  
* "Resilience refers to managing the landscape in ways that enhance its capacity to withstand drought, climate change, wildfire, increased visitor use, bark beetles, and other stressors, without the loss of its ecological processes and its cultural, recreational, and economic values."        - From LTW Charter 
Fire is a natural and important ecological process in our forests. Unfortunately, decades of fire suppression policies have led to degraded forest health. For example, the Assessment found that over 75% of the West Shore's forests have not had sufficient periodic fire, resulting in overly dense forested areas with a higher susceptibility to catastrophic wildfire and increased vulnerability to drought, insects, and disease. Phase 2 of LTW will evaluate ways to improve forest health and resilience and the most effective locations to conduct restoration activities.  FOWS is represented on the Science Committee reviewing and commenting on this important analysis.
Meeks Bay Marina:
The U.S. Forest Service Notice of Preparation for the proposed project at the Meeks Bay Marina is now set to be released in early 2018. FOWS will keep you advised.   
Tree removal by Caltrans:  

Caltrans has already started a project to help reduce wildfire and safety risks by removing dead and dying trees along highways in the Basin. The agency started removing hazardous trees along State Routes (SR) 89 and 50 this year and will begin tree removals on SR 28 and 267 next August.  
Herbicide use in Tahoe Keys:
The environmental document related to the proposed use of chemical herbicides in the Tahoe Keys lagoons has been delayed, and is now anticipated in early 2018. The Tahoe Water Suppliers Association recently prepared a short list of additional information and recommended actions the public can take
Other projects:  
FOWS will continue to update you on the following projects as new information becomes available:
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 (click here for a short instruction sheet to get you started). 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 
Link to S.H.A.R.E.S. eScrip program 


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 Judith Tornese, FOWS President, at:
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