Lake Tahoe, CA/NV August 31, 2016 – Over 7,000 people gathered at the Harvey’s Resort to hear Senators Boxer, Feinstein, Reid, Governor Brown and President Obama announce new initiatives to protect the health of Lake Tahoe and its surroundings. Wrapping up his speech, President Obama concluded: “The most important office in a democracy is the office of Citizen.”
Several new agreements were announced during the summit:
Hazardous Fuels Reduction Funding
The Department of the Interior announced $29.5 million dedicated for hazardous fuels reduction projects to improve forest health and protect life and property from the threat of catastrophic wildfires. The funding will be used on public and private lands to support the removal of standing dead and dying hazard trees along roads and in campgrounds, administrative sites, communication sites, and the wildland urban interface – adjacent to community infrastructure – in or adjacent to the Tahoe Basin. Since 2002, the Department of the Interior has invested more than $400 million in funding for over 400 projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin that support hazardous fuels treatments, restoration work and the acquisition of environmentally-sensitive lands.
Salton Sea Agreement
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Following President Obama’s remarks earlier today at the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit on climate and conservation challenges, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor and State of California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen coordination of management activities to benefit the Salton Sea, boost the region’s climate resilience, spur the region’s economic growth, and improve public health.
The MOU provides a framework for collaboration through 2026, with Interior and the State of California working towards the state-identified goal of up to 25,000 acres of resource mitigation. The effort will ensure coordination of activities within the federal and State partnership to facilitate projects in a timely manner to improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, existing obligations to Native American communities, and collaboration of scientific research efforts.
“The only way we will save the Salton Sea is with a broad coalition that includes every level of government and the private sector as well. I am very pleased that our coalition is growing as the state and Department of Interior have forged a new partnership to restore the Sea,” Senator Boxer said. “In addition, the donation by the Water Funder Initiative foundations shows why we also need the nonprofit and philanthropic community to get involved because we cannot accept the dangerous consequences of allowing the serious problems at the Salton Sea to become an immense crisis.”