Newsletter: October/November 2017

We must continue to stand up for the West Shore and Lake Tahoe!
Image from July 2016.  
More traffic and buildings that block mountain and lake views. A 10-story indoor "waterpark." Mountain rollercoasters. Mucky, algae-laden beach areas. New development marring iconic forested ridgelines. And the list goes on.
Lake Tahoe's unique beauty and our quality of life are threatened by pressures from new and expanded development in the Tahoe/Truckee region and increasing population growth in Northern California and Nevada. At times these pressures may seem daunting, but public participation has been key in pushing back and advocating for better solutions. Multiple public organizations, including FOWS, and community individuals have:  
  • Encouraged local agencies to increase focus on traffic issues;
  • Challenged the approvals of massive regional projects (e.g. plans for Squaw Valley and Martis Valley West);
  • Reduced the size and impact of major new developments (i.e. Homewood Mountain Resort);
  • Increased accountability of public health and safety impacts from new development (Homewood Evacuation Plan); and
  • Drawn attention to Tahoe's declining nearshore conditions.
It is important the public continues to participate and demand accountability, sustainable development, adequate mitigation, and protection of our environment and health and safety. We thank you for your support and involvement. As we enter the Holiday season, we ask that you consider donating to FOWS to help us continue to represent West Shore communities. All donations are tax-deductible. Additional information and ways to assist FOWS are included at the end of this newsletter. We appreciate your support, and wish you a wonderful Holiday season. 

Susan Gearhart 
President, Friends of the West Shore     

BE SAFE! Sign up for emergency alerts on your cell phone.

Our hearts go out to the many people affected by the wine country fires. We also face the threat of major wildfires in the Basin, and officials have encouraged the public to register their cell phone numbers to receive emergency alerts. FOWS encourages you to register your cell phone if you have not done so already (links below).

Regional and Local Planning Updates:
Updates of TRPA environmental threshold standards:
TRPA recently produced a report assessing the existing environmental standards. In September, the TRPA Governing Board directed staff begin the next phase of the update process, which includes working with the Tahoe Science Advisory Council to investigate opportunities to strengthen the standards (see staff's September presentation). The proposed work plan includes the following schedule:  
  • "Cleanup" of standards - Spring 2018
  • Focus on forest health and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) - Fall 2018
  • Focus on Stream Environment Zone (SEZ) restoration/etc. - Winter 2018-2019
TRPA New Shoreline Plan:

The proposed TRPA Shoreline Plan will update goals, policies, and regulations allowing more shoreline structures such as marinas, piers, buoys, ramps, and boat slips; it does not sufficiently address the elimination of existing illegal buoys, conditions in the nearshore environment, upland development near the lake, nor encourage making more beach area available for public use. FOWS submitted comments on the Notice of Preparation. Recommendations include:  
- Enhancing non-motorized recreation (e.g. swimming, kayaking, SUP),
- Emphasizing public versus private access,
- Strong enforcement and monitoring,
- Impacts to analyze in the environmental impact study (EIS), and
- Alternatives to the proposed plan.
In September, TRPA presented a list of recommended alternatives for the EIS analysis. While some of our recommendations were included in the alternatives to the proposed plan, not all were not addressed ( see FOWS 9/25 comments). The draft EIS is anticipated this winter or later.
Potential TRPA regional plan amendments:
TRPA's Regional Plan regulates development through a system of limited "development rights" (DRs) [often referred to as "commodities"], including commercial floor area (CFA), tourist accommodation units (TAUs), and residential units, long-recognizing that different impacts result from each land use. After evaluating alternative regulations, TRPA's "Development Rights Working Group" has proposed several changes, including a 'single currency' that would make the commodities interchangeable, which has the potential to create significant impacts depending on how conversions from one use to another are regulated ( 1, 2). FOWS will continue to follow this process.   
Project Updates:
Meeks Bay Marina:
The U.S. Forest Service plans to issue the Notice of Preparation within the next month (which will outline potential future development and restoration options at the site), and to complete the public scoping process before the middle of December. FOWS will keep you advised.  
Herbicide use in Tahoe Keys:
The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) has applied for an exemption to water quality regulations to use chemical herbicides as a means to address the extensive growth of invasive weeds. FOWS, Tahoe water purveyors, and others are concerned about the use of chemicals in Lake Tahoe. Further, there are other promising options that do not rely on toxic chemicals (e.g. ultraviolet light). The TKPOA has requested minimal environmental review through a "checklist;" release for public review is expected in late November followed by a 45-day comment period. FOWS will include updates in our December/January Newsletter.   
Fanny Bridge/SR 89 Realignment:
According to a recent email update from the Tahoe Transportation District, several parts of the project have been completed, including but not limited to a new rockery wall on SR 89 across from the Caltrans yard and a new entrance to the Tahoe City Transit Center. Paving is scheduled for spring 2018.
Alpine Meadows & Squaw Valley area:
FOWS is concerned about the the following new projects and additional vehicle trips they may bring to the Basin, especially combined with other approved large projects such as the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan.

  • Alpine Sierra Subdivision:
The Alpine Sierra Subdivision project proposes the development of 47 single-family residential units and 5 secondary dwelling units in Alpine Meadows. Public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are due 11/7. (See FOWS comments on the NOP and draft EIR).   
  • White Wolf Subdivision Project:
The White Wolf project proposes 38 single-family residential lots, a 10,360 sq. ft. clubhouse/lodge, and ski resort facilities in Alpine Meadows. This project is located in the vicinity of the proposed Alpine Meadows to Squaw Valley Gondola on land owned by the same private property owner that is considering allowing Squaw Valley's owners to place a portion of the Gondola across his property. According to Placer County t he Notice of Preparation is "forthcoming." 
  • Squaw Valley Resort Roller Coaster: 
The application for a proposed roller coaster at the resort has been resurrected.
Other projects:  
FOWS will continue to update you on the following projects as new information becomes available:
Easy ways to help FOWS!  
 Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. We ask you to consider a charitable, tax-deductible contribution to FOWS. Learn more here
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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