Tahoe Area Sierra
Position Paper: Proposed TRPA
discusses key Tahoe Area Sierra Club (TASC) concerns regarding the proposed
Shorezone Plan, based on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s May
2008 Proposed Shorezone Plan (which relies on the November 2006 Final
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the 2007 “Blue Boating Program”)
and actions members can take to help protect Lake Tahoe.
Alternative (dated 5/2/08) will mean an additional:
- 128 new private
piers (10 new public piers);
- 1,862 more
buoys, most of which will be private;
- 235 boat slips;
- 6 more boat
Added to Lake
Tahoe’s beautiful waters over the next 20 years. By comparison,
there are currently 768 piers, 4,454 buoys, 2,694 boat slips, 18 floating
docks and 37 boat ramps on Lake Tahoe. The Plan also estimates
an additional 80,543 new boat trips per year; by comparison there
are currently an estimated 232,000 boat trips per year already.
In summary, this means:
Access on and around Lake Tahoe
- More private piers
and Shorezone structures will impede the public’s right to access
Lake Tahoe and her shoreline; no one wants to climb under/over
a pier while strolling along a beach that is supposedly the public’s
to walk on; swimming in public waters among a boat-filled buoy
field is contrary to the public’s right to enjoy its public waters;
- Little support of
opportunities for enjoyment of non-motorized recreation (e.g. kayaks,
- Unproven, speculative
and financially inequitable “mitigation” for impacts to public access
caused by increased shorezone structures.
Water and Air Pollution
- More air and water
pollution to the Lake and surrounding areas from increase motorized
- Air and water pollution
impact the Lake’s clarity, create negative impacts to the health of
humans, wildlife and aquatic life, damage Pine trees and reduce visibility.
- TRPA is providing
allowances for water quality degradation, especially in Emerald Bay,
which is in direct conflict with Lake Tahoe’s special designation
as an Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW);
- More construction
of new Shorezone structures means more chances for accidental leaks
of pollution and disturbances to sediment in the Lake, which would increase
pollution in the water column.
Scenic Degradation to Lake Tahoe’s Famed Shoreline
- More piers and Shorezone
structures, as well as more buoys (and the boats attached to them),
will negatively affect the scenic quality of Tahoe’s beautiful shoreline;
- Unequal mitigation
for development in the Shorezone;
- Impacts from all
scenic angles have not been accounted for; and
- No amount of mitigation
can replace the amazing beauty of an undeveloped shoreline on Lake Tahoe.
Further, the TRPA’s justifications for allowing more shorezone development
do not convince. They are contrary to both the spirit and we believe
the letter of the law that is laid down in TRPA’s Compact and the
United States Clean Water Act. Some of these justifications are included
and discussed below.
first then hope you can fix it” Approach
- TRPA is proposing
to allow increased development before finishing the development
(and successful implementation) of the mitigation program (termed the
“Blue Boating Program” or BBP) it claims will “protect” the
environment and Lake Tahoe;
- The TASC believes
it is irresponsible and legally questionable to allow harmful development
before mitigation has been proven, let alone fully developed.
- The BBP has never
undergone proper public circulation (as the proposed mitigation, it
should have been included in the 11/06 EIS; therefore, it requires the
same level of public review as the EIS).
needs to allow development in order to obtain funding (through mitigation
fees) for mitigation and enforcement programs.”
- Allowing more development
to help mitigate for existing damage is illogical and creates a very
bad precedent for future planning. Also, TRPA has the authority to
get things done in other ways.
- This would essentially
permit TRPA to, as regular practice, approve more development as a means
to provide funding for enforcement needed to reduce damage from existing
- This will establish
a pattern that has no defined end, and will self-perpetuate the need
for even more development. But at some point, if not already,
we will exceed our Basin’s capacity.
from Current Science & the New Regional Plan
- Science and the
TMDL model tell us we must decrease pollution by 55% to achieve our
Lake clarity standards. We are already struggling with how to
achieve a 55% reduction. Yet the Preferred Alternative will
increase pollution entering the Lake.
- How can we increase
pollution entering the Lake when our mandate is to decrease it by over 50%?
- TRPA is currently
analyzing how to achieve thresholds over the next 20 years for their
Regional Plan update. TRPA’s thresholds are affected by all
activities in the Basin; therefore the analysis of how to achieve them
must include all Basin activities (including those in the Shorezone
and on the Lake).
- Adopting Shorezone
Ordinances before the Regional Plan EIS is done will render both regulatory
packages inadequate. Neither will have accounted for the cumulative
environmental impacts to and from the other.
- What if the Regional
Plan EIS indicates that the development allowed by the Preferred Shorezone
Alternative will cause thresholds to be exceeded? (After the
alternative has been approved?)
If TRPA is
allowed to focus efforts on how to allow more development in the Shorezone
and facilitate a 30% increase in boat use, rather than how to preserve
this gem called Lake Tahoe, then imagine what this means for the future
of the entire Basin when TRPA updates their Basin-wide Regional Plan
in the next year. The TRPA was developed to protect Lake Tahoe
from the degradation caused by extensive development in decades past
and prevent further harm. Yet TRPA’s focus has once again shifted
to allowing more development at the expense of the environment
as well as the public’s access rights on public land and the Lake.
Please do not let them do this to YOUR lake!
For more information,
please visit our website at: http://motherlode.sierraclub.org/tahoe/
You may join
us at our regular monthly meetings:
The 3rd Thursday of every month; Time: 6:20pm – 9:00pm
Douglas County Fire Station on Elks Point Road, Round Hill, NV (see
website for directions)
You may contact
PO Box 16936
South Lake Tahoe,