Keep Tahoe Blue Advocacy Update
Our advocacy and policy experts keep a watchful eye on projects and plans that may impact the health and clarity of Lake Tahoe.

We engage, collaborate and speak on behalf of the Lake to ensure we Keep Tahoe Blue. Here are some projects we're working on now.
Photo: Wendy Hudnall Photography
Aquatic Invasive Weeds at the Tahoe Keys
What is it? The Tahoe Keys, located on the south shore, are ground zero for the infestation of aquatic invasive weeds at Tahoe, which are spreading into the Lake itself. The Keys are a development dating from the 1960s, with 172 acres of shallow lagoons connected to the Lake. Today, more than 90% of the Keys' waterways are infested with aquatic weeds, making this site the focal point of collaborative efforts to tackle invasive species in Tahoe.

In May, innovative technology was installed in the Keys' east channel, which connects the Tahoe Keys Marina to the Lake, to prevent invasive weeds from being transported further into Lake Tahoe by passing boats and water currents. The bubble curtain technology emits a wall of tiny bubbles mimicking the fishing techniques of humpback whales to dislodge floating weed fragments and corral them for removal. Marine Taxonomic Services installed the new bubble curtain with funding and coordination from the League and our partners.

The east channel bubble curtain complements a bubble curtain pilot project that the League and Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association implemented in the west channel in 2018. The success of that pilot project is why the technology is now being used elsewhere around the Lake, including at Elk Point marina. Following the successful removal of an aquatic invasive weed infestation from this east shore location, the newly installed curtain protects the now AIS-free marina from outside infestation. The League provided funding for this project, as well.

Invasive weeds creeping out of the Tahoe Keys occupy more than 100 acres of the Lake itself. This infested area just outside the Keys, known as the Tahoe Keys Complex, is the focus of an invasive weed removal project kickstarted by the League in the fall of 2020. We partner with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association to move this project ahead.

Where is it in the process? The three bubble curtains are in operation, preventing weeds from moving freely to and from Lake Tahoe. Weed removal in the Tahoe Keys Complex has also resumed.

What’s next? Further AIS control work in the Tahoe Keys will occur this summer. Laminar flow aeration and UV light treatment, which had been previously deployed in limited areas in the Tahoe Keys, will undergo further trials in the coming months to test their effectiveness in reducing the weeds’ biomass.

The 100+ acres of aquatic invasive weeds in the Tahoe Keys Complex are being systematically removed through a process called SCUBA diver-assisted suction dredging. The work began last year at the Keys’ west channel and continues this spring and summer within and outside the east channel. By creating a physical break of weed-free area lakeward of the Keys lagoons, the infestation in the Lake itself will be easier to manage.

You can tackle invasive species too. Join Eyes on the Lake and use the Citizen Science Tahoe App to report aquatic invasive species you spot while you enjoy the Lake. In less than five minutes, you can contribute important information to help Keep Tahoe Blue.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
We strongly support ongoing efforts to curb aquatic invasive species, including the installation of new bubble curtains and the use of other innovative treatments in and outside the Tahoe Keys. For eight years, the League has been leading the charge to control aquatic invasive species in the Tahoe Keys and Lake Tahoe. There is still much work to do in order to protect the Lake from this dire ecological threat.

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Shoreline Plan Update
Photo: @loloandthelens
What is it? With summer underway, all eyes are on the water. Boating safety, along with new mooring and pier permits, are top of mind.

Boating Safety – Tahoe Boating App
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), in collaboration with the League to Save Lake Tahoe, developed the app to inform boaters and paddlers how to enjoy the Lake safely and responsibly, including respecting no-wake zone boundaries. Increasing boater and paddler safety is a goal shared by the 2018 Tahoe Shoreline Plan and the League.

The Tahoe Boating app also provides weather alerts and the locations of marinas, gas stations and area attractions. Download the free app today, and check out this safety video for boaters and this one for paddlers.

Mooring & Pier Lotteries
Through the Shoreline Plan, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency regulates the number of piers, buoys and boat launches on Lake Tahoe to preserve the Lake’s natural environment. Penalties for unpermitted moorings are being issued.

The latest open period for mooring lottery submissions (December 1, 2020 through April 23, 2021) is now closed. TRPA is in the process of reviewing applications and issuing new mooring permits. The next mooring lottery will be held in 2023.

Where is it in the process? Implementation of the Shoreline Plan, including its watercraft safety and boating access elements, is ongoing.

What’s next?
Boating Safety – Tahoe Boating App
To make this boating season safer than last year’s, download and use the free Tahoe Boating App. Then take our short survey to let us know how we can improve it.

Mooring & Pier Lotteries
TRPA is now accepting applications for the new pier lottery through June 30, 2021. Once the pier lottery submission period closes, TRPA will select applications that can move forward to the permitting process. Selections will be completed by July 20, 2021.

Every two years, TRPA can permit up to 12 new piers in the Tahoe Basin, with a preference for multiple-parcel, shared-use piers. No additional pier allocations will be available until 2023.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
The League continues to work closely with TRPA and other agencies to make boating, paddling and swimming in Lake Tahoe fun and safe for all users, following the Shoreline Plan. We support speed limits and no-wake zones, especially in high conflict zones like Emerald Bay, while encouraging more enforcement of these safety-enhancing rules.

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Boating safety videos for paddlers & boaters
Regional Transportation Plan Adopted
Cave Roc_Beau Rogers - Flickr
Photo: Beau Rogers / Flickr
What is it? The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) provides a 25-year vision for improving transportation throughout the Tahoe Basin and reducing reliance on the private automobile. To achieve that goal, the plan focuses on transit, trails, technology, and community enhancements to provide more travel options for residents and visitors.

The plan – implemented by regional agencies and local governments – is supported largely through federal and state funding. At present, a substantial funding gap needs to be filled to realize the complete RTP vision. This transportation funding gap is noticeable to anyone who travels in or to Tahoe and is largely responsible for the lack of progress in achieving RTP goals. Local and regional funding sources are needed to allow Tahoe’s small resident population to provide a sustainable transportation system for all travelers, including thousands of residents and workers, and millions of tourists.

TRPA has also been working to update a key, transportation-related environmental threshold it uses to protect Lake Tahoe’s environment and communities. The vehicle miles traveled (VMT) threshold was created 40 years ago to control atmospheric deposition of nitrous oxides (NOx), which are tailpipe emissions that can fall on the Lake and fuel algae growth. While NOx deposition goals are presently being met, the Basin has exceeded the VMT threshold several times and is currently out of attainment. Based on current, best available science, VMT is not a good indicator of NOx deposition, but it is a useful and required measure of transportation impacts and progress toward TRPA’s sustainability goals. 

Importantly, the threshold for vehicle miles traveled had to be updated for the RTP to move forward. The VMT update makes air quality standards for the Tahoe Basin dependent on a measure of vehicle miles traveled per capita. The update also includes both sticks and carrots to ensure development projects address impacts from the automobile trips they generate, or prevent those trips in the first place through mitigations, such as microtransit shuttles.

Where is it in the process? Both the Regional Transportation Plan and the updated VMT threshold were approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in April of 2021.  

What’s next? The first step in getting transportation improvements on the ground is to identify and secure a funding source. The League is heavily involved in this effort through our advocacy work inside the Basin, and in Carson City, Sacramento and Washington D.C.

Once funding is in place, agencies and local governments will begin implementing a 10-year list of priority projects chosen by leaders from the Basin and both states.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
The League was very involved in and supports the RTP and VMT update as critical pathways for protecting the Lake from harmful stormwater pollution created by overuse of Tahoe’s roads. After years of involvement by our staff, we’re pleased to see heightened accountability measures and a sticks-and-carrots approach to ensure the vision of the Regional Transportation Plan is achieved. That vision is crucial to achieving climate goals adopted by both California and Nevada, breaking our dependence on the private automobile, and preserving the Tahoe environment.

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Changes at the Tahoe Transportation District
Photo: Tahoe Transportation District
What is it? The League’s CEO, Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, has joined the Tahoe Transportation District Board of Directors, an influential position within the regional agency charged with managing transportation and transit for the entire Tahoe Basin. Darcie’s seat on the TTD Board is designated to a board member from the South Shore Transportation Management Association (SSTMA), where she also serves.

Where is it in the process? The League has been working for years to improve oversight of TTD from its board of directors. The League’s policy advocates worked to pass laws in both California and Nevada to amend the makeup of the TTD board and make the agency staff more transparent, local and accountable. The recent appointments of Darcie and local transportation advocates Sherry Hao (CA) and Kyle Davis (NV), are great strides toward achieving that goal.  

What’s next? Earlier this spring, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted the updated Regional Transportation Plan the vision for improving transportation in the Tahoe Basin over the next 25 years. Given TTD’s role as implementer for transit and transportation programs, the agency is instrumental to the success of the plan. The new board will lead TTD as implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan begins. 

The League, along with TTD and other Tahoe agencies and advocates, will continue working to secure a sustainable funding source to support the promising vision of the Regional Transportation Plan.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
How people get to and around the Basin has a major impact on the health and scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe. Since TTD holds the central role in managing and enhancing transportation in the Tahoe Basin, improving the agency’s performance is paramount to preserving Lake Tahoe.

The League was the driving force behind improving oversight of TTD, and we support the recent changes to its board of directors.

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Summer Transportation Options
Photo: Lime
What is it? This summer, there are a range of options to help you get to and around Tahoe without the hassle, cost and environmental impacts of driving yourself.

Placer County and the Incline Village-Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau are offering free, on-demand, door-to-door shuttles from June 24 through Labor Day weekend. The TART Connect smart phone app can be used to request a rideshare van between 8 am and midnight in three service areas: Kings Beach, Tahoe City to Sugar Pine, and Crystal Bay-Incline Village. This “microtransit” service is like Uber or Lyft – they pick up within 15 minutes or less and go anywhere within the service area – but with shared rides and no cost to you.

Lime scooters have returned to the south shore. Download the Lime app (App Store, Google Play) to hop on one of hundreds of scooters, skip the traffic and enjoy Tahoe’s summer sunshine.

Lake-lovers leaving Reno can book a seat on Reno Transportation Commission shuttles bound for Incline Village and Sand Harbor. Tickets are $5 one way, with an additional $2 fee to get you to San Harbor. Feel free to bring your summer beach gear with you. Shuttles run seven days a week, 7 am – 9 pm. Book your tickets 24 hour to 72 hours in advance by calling (775) 335-0035. Reservations are required. 

There are more options out there, including public transit service on the south shore and north shore, as well as airport shuttles. Or you can hop on two wheels and participate in the Tahoe Bike Challenge through the end of June. See all your travel options in one place.

Where is it in the process? These Lake-friendly transportation options are either on the ground now, or will be coming in the next few weeks. Summer time at Tahoe can be a travel nightmare. Do yourself a favor – skip the traffic and potential parking tickets and give one of these alternatives a try.

What’s next? The services provided the Washoe County RTC, Placer County, and Incline Village-Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau are pilot programs. The agencies will use the summer season to gather data and monitor the services' effectiveness. If they prove to be popular, on-demand microtransit and Reno-to-Sand Harbor routes could be back next year and beyond.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
The League strongly supports this range of Lake-friendly, alternative travel options to reduce dependence on the private automobile and spare the Lake from harmful stormwater pollution generated by traffic.

In 2017, the League helped bring Lime bikes and scooters to South Lake Tahoe. In 2018, we launched a proof-of-concept microtransit pilot on the south shore to demonstrate how the idea could work in the Basin. We're excited to see these transportation ideas taking hold and spreading. Adding and expanding convenient travel options helps Keep Tahoe Blue.

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Meeks Bay Restoration Project
What is it? The Meeks Bay Restoration Project will restore degraded habitat in the Meeks Lagoon and Meeks Creek, remove the shuttered marina, and improve sustainable recreation opportunities and access. The Meeks Creek watershed, located on Lake Tahoe’s west shore, includes approximately 68 acres of severely impacted habitat. The Meeks Creek and Meeks Lagoon system once provided important habitat for native fish as well as ecosystem functions that kept fine sediment pollution out of Lake Tahoe. In 2016, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and Washoe Tribe partnered to begin work on a full restoration of the Meeks Creek watershed.

Where is it in the process? Through June 30, the public is invited to provide comments on specific features of the project’s three proposed design alternatives. The alternatives were created through a series of public workshops conducted in 2020, along with numerous stakeholder working group meetings. The League's scientists have helped shape the project as members of the stakeholder working group.

A separate project to control a population of aquatic invasive species in Meeks Lagoon and Meeks Creek was completed in the fall of 2020.  

What’s next? After the current comment period concludes, the stakeholder working group will refine the three project design alternatives using input from the public. Then, each of the three alternatives will undergo a detailed environmental analysis and comparison in 2021. The central question of these alternatives is whether motorized boating will return to Meeks Bay, and if so, how much and what kind. Finalization of the project design, environmental permitting, and the start of restoration work is scheduled for 2022.

With the aquatic invasive species removal project in Meeks Lagoon and Creek complete, post-project monitoring will begin. This data gathering stage will also serve as the initial step of the future wetland restoration project, which will provide additional wildlife habitat and runoff filtration for waters entering Lake Tahoe.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
The League supports the Meeks Bay Restoration Project as a unique opportunity for watershed-scale restoration of a stream and lagoon ecosystem, which can also provide sustainable recreation opportunities and a new focal point for non-motorized watercraft access at Lake Tahoe.

The League believes the project goals can be achieved with one, or a hybrid, of the project design alternatives. We do have concerns with aspects of the design alternatives, such as the construction of a new pier and boat launch, and reconstruction of trailer parking. Our hope is that the project can strike a balance between types of uses, reduce the potential for user conflict on and off the water, and restore a functioning ecosystem and habitat.

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CA Landscape Stewardship Network
Photo: Sierra Sun
What is it? Since 2019 the League’s CEO, Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, has helped lead an environmental conservation collaborative called the California Landscape Stewardship Network, which represents 29 federal, state and local agencies, non-profits, academic institutions, private land managers and tribal partners. All members share a commitment to work together to advance ecosystem restoration on a landscape-scale, i.e. large projects.

The landscape stewardship concept represents a new paradigm for 21st century conservation. It reflects how we work together to care for the places we love, enjoy and depend upon, and make these places more resilient for future generations.

Where is it in the process? In May, Darcie presented to and helped facilitate a series of meetings for a virtual, month-long forum called "Stewardship.2021." Each session focused on an emerging trend critical to advancing restoration in Tahoe and beyond: collaborative leadership; addressing landscape-scale challenges through systems thinking; leveraging the power of networks to conserve biodiversity; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

During each weekly session, participants heard from leading practitioners and scholars on these topics, learned about key developments from roundtable members, and exchanged ideas. Speakers included California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California State Senator Mike McGuire, California State Parks Director Armando Quintero, and Executive Director for UC Berkeley’s Institute for People, Parks & Biodiversity Jon Jarvis.  

What’s next? Darcie will continue to help lead CLSN's collaborative work to make broad-scale, meaningful restoration projects a reality. In Tahoe, the 59,000-acre, cross-jurisdictional Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership is an excellent example of a project championed by CLSN and the League.

What is the League’s position? SUPPORT
The impacts of climate change prolonged droughts, more extreme wildfires and warming Lake waters are compounding the environmental challenges facing Lake Tahoe. To make Tahoe resilient in the face of the climate crisis, one of the League’s core campaigns is to advance restoration of Tahoe’s natural ecosystem and its functions.

Long lasting change in conservation and restoration will require collaboration, working across boundaries, science-based solutions, and leadership all things that align with the League’s mission and values. We support CLSN’s work, and will continue leading the group in its push to restore natural systems whose borders are defined by ecology, not politics.

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Show Your Love for Tahoe
With the world beginning to open back up, are you planning any road trips this summer? Wherever you go, proudly display your love for Lake Tahoe with our signature license plate frame.

Remember, one of the leading threats to Tahoe’s clarity is stormwater pollution from overused roads. So, step out of your car whenever you can and use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike. 

All proceeds benefit our efforts to Keep Tahoe Blue, now and for future generations.
Upcoming Events
Wed, Jun 16 | 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe
Volunteers of all ages and skill levels are invited to this fun, hands-on restoration event. By pitching in, you will help improve the ecosystem and wildlife habitats that surround Lake Tahoe. 

Thu, Jun 17 | 2 - 4 pm
Attend this training to help tackle the invasive species threat at Tahoe. Learn how to identify native and invasive aquatic plants, report observations you make at the Lake, and help the League quickly put new infestations in check.

Mon, Jun 21 - Sun, Jun 27
Join UC Davis scientists for a paddle around Lake Tahoe in support of the Citizen Science Tahoe app. Over the course of seven days, paddlers will travel in 6-10 mile segments and collect valuable scientific data along the way. Tag along with the League's experts on June 23 and 26.

Thu, Jun 24 | 9 am - 1 pm
Martis Creek Lake & Dry Lake, Truckee
Help us survey Martis Creek Lake and Dry Lake for aquatic invasive plants! Put your aquatic plant ID skills to work at this on-the-ground survey event. Small groups will walk the shoreline to look for, identify and track any aquatic species found.

Mon, Jul 5 | 8 - 11:30 am
Beaches around Lake Tahoe
Mark your calendar for July 5! Join hundreds of volunteers for our largest cleanup event of the year. The event will take place at sites around the Lake to remove the mess leftover from Independence Day festivities.

Support Our Work
Our efforts to Keep Tahoe Blue depend on the generosity of our members and supporters. Thank you for donating to protect Lake Tahoe.
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