CTC looking at how best to manage its lands


By Kathryn Reed

In a meeting that was more about reports than decision-making, the California Tahoe Conservancy board was updated last week about the Upper Truckee Marsh, lands the state agency owns and what the adoption of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Regional Plan means.

While the environmental documents for the Upper Truckee Marsh may be released at the end of next month, a comprehensive workshop about restoration along the Upper Truckee River is not slated until April or May.

Penny Stewart with the California Tahoe Conservancy told the board at the Dec. 14 meeting the idea is to bring experts from various disciplines together to talk about restoring the river – what has happened, what is in the works and what is planned. River restoration is part of the marsh project.

Nancy Gibson, U.S. Forest Service chief in the Lake Tahoe Basin and a non-voting member of the CTC board, said she supports the education component of such a meeting to explain the why here and why now questions. However, she said funding is in place for the reach of the river the Forest Service is responsible for and would hate to have that money threatened as the CTC takes this new global approach.

The Upper Truckee Marsh, which borders the Tahoe Keys, is an area the California Tahoe Conservancy wants to restore. Photo/AECOM

“I’m cautious about undermining decisions that have already been made,” Gibson said.

Lynne Paulson, who is concerned with what is going on at Washoe Meadows State Park and Lake Valley Recreation Area, said the panel discussion should happen sooner. The river runs through those parcels.

Les Wright, a member of South Lake Tahoe Recreation Commission, advocated for including a boardwalk across the meadow from the Al Tahoe neighborhood to the Tahoe Keys area.

Asset lands

Property that has some financial value to the CTC comes under the category of asset lands. They could potentially be sold and developed.

The 332 parcels that have been identified as such amount to 223.56 acres. Patrick Wright, CTC executive director, said it is not the intent to start unloading them all.

Bruce Eisner with the CTC said about 20 of those would likely be put on the market in the next five years. He said those are mostly in the commercial core areas. This would mean filling in open space in high traffic areas and getting rid of parcels that don’t fit the Conservancy’s goals.

Nine of the parcels are in Meyers near highways 89 and 50.

“These were acquired as a possible multi-agency visitors center,” Eisner explained. He said as Meyers moves forward with its area plan that these parcels might be of interest to planners, especially since the agencies have abandoned the idea of such a center.

The Conservancy’s current policy to sell land requires requests for proposals be sent out in a competitive bid process instead of the conventional route of using a real estate agent. Eisner suggested looking at revising that policy in order to offer flexibility.

Regional Plan impacts

With passage of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Regional Plan it means changes to land coverage issues involving the CTC and other marketable rights.

The ability to use excess coverage mitigation fees across hydrologic area boundaries is seen as a positive by the CTC.

The CTC hopes the incentives to transfer residential development rights from sensitive land to town centers will jump-start the agency’s ability to purchase developed land, like old motels, that were built in stream environmental zones.

Another change with the Regional Plan is that Van Sickle Bi-State Park, a CTC and Nevada State Parks project on the South Shore, is now designated recreation instead of conservation.

The CTC will also benefit from how bike and walking trails are exempt when it comes to coverage issues.

In other action:

• Wright said it’s likely Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will reintroduce the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. This would mean money for various Tahoe groups for projects under the environmental improvement program that was established after then-President Bill Clinton came to Tahoe in 1997.




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Comments (8)
  1. HNIRP says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Start with abandoning that ridiculous sunset river restoration project near the airport. The river next to the airport is scheduled to be moved from elks club all the way down to the horrible looking downstream section they restored years ago near the airport. If Conservation is the wise use of lands then how can it be justified to take a perfectly functioning and beautiful fisheries and meadow system that has never been touched by man and move it. That project will be a failure and being the most highly used river in the basin will make all those involved look like a bunch of fools. Scrap that project before you ruin an ecosystem and the lake. There are many other areas to focus dying and dwindling financial resources.

  2. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Keep CTC land in the urban areas to achieve the goal of visual oneness with the mountains and the lake. Don’t develop them fill in the views and turn those roadways into nothing but buildings.

  3. Steven says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    tahoeadvocate is space is needed everywhere, especially in the developed commercial areas. How would hwy 50 look as a solid wall of buildings on both sides? The CTC should have purchased that open corner lot at ski run and hwy 50. Now it will just be developed with more ugly, multi-story un-needed commercial buildings. Aren’t there plenty of empty commercial buildings now?

  4. steve says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Agree with tahoe advocate. The more open space along hgwy 50 & 89 the better to achieve an inviting mountain atmosphere. i.e. We have a nice little river in town (Truckee) that is a popular float but yet there is no official access at hgwy 50. In addition, most visitors drive right over the bridge without knowing this gem is there. Les Wright presents a good idea with the boardwalk but lets tie that in with a trailhead at hgwy 50 and the Truckee as well.

  5. Powder Hound says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    How is it that ctc selling their conservation land for development meets with their goals? That is completely contrary to their mission of conservation.

  6. HNIRP says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Steve … You do realize they intend to move that entire section of river for like 2 miles. They plan to fill in the old river, which are some of the best fisheries in the basin. The river is about to be destroyed using restoration funds, so some scientists can have their pet experiment and hope it works.

  7. thing fish says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Wow HINRP, that is some of the least informed commenting I have read on here in awhile. And you have some strong competition.

    “how can it be justified to take a perfectly functioning and beautiful fisheries and meadow system that has never been touched by man and move it.”

    Let me highlight some of the glaring problems in that statement.
    -‘perfectly functioning fishery’
    -‘perfectly functioning meadow’
    -‘never been touched by man’

    All false. Especially the last one.

    Wow, such a strong opinion and so thoroughly misinformed.

  8. HNIRP says - Posted: December 17, 2012

    Fisheries..- best in the basin- fished it for 25 years. Complex debis dams and overhanging vegetation, stable channel, great pools and habitat for all species wildlife, birds etc. has abundant populations of western pearlshell mussel and home to mink and great horned owl. No other place can you catch healthy fish. You obvious don’t fish it, so anglers will be your first enemy.

    Functioning meadow – floods about every 2 years. Over banks and goes into the floodplain as desired. No water quality issues according to those I have talked with.

    Never been touched by man- was not moved as part of airport construction and is a stable functionng configuration. Photos back to the 40’s show it to be in similar configuration and has migrated naturally. Been stabilized overtime and formed by floods. Man has not touched this area contrary to your opinion. What evidence do you have that it was ever moved? Sunset ranch operated there and may have impacted it, but nothing compared to the disturbance about to be created.

    This area is pristine… If you can create a better channel then you are god.