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Photo credit: Austin McInerny, Meeks Bay Project Development Team

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. December 16, 2020 – The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) in coordination with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, will host a virtual public workshop about the Meeks Bay Restoration Project from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. The workshop will provide the background and need for the project, share proposed restoration and site improvement alternatives, describe the next steps in the environmental planning process and solicit feedback on the alternatives.

The LTBMU is developing a plan to restore Meeks Creek between Highway 89 and Lake Tahoe to a more natural condition, while continuing to support sustainable recreation opportunities.

In 1960, a marina with approximately 120 boat slips and a boat launch facility was dredged at the mouth of Meeks Creek, on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The marina eliminated unique wetland habitat for numerous bird, mammal and amphibian species. The deteriorating condition of the existing marina, along with concerns over water quality, aquatic invasive species, and degraded habitat for native species, prompted the need for action in Meeks Bay.

“Since our first public workshop in August, we’ve received extensive input from the public and interested organizations,” said LTBMU Deputy Forest Supervisor, Danelle D. Harrison. “We are still in the beginning stages of this important project, and we want to ensure that the public process remains inclusive and robust to best serve our community and Meeks Bay.”

The proposed project aims to:

  • Restore a functioning stream and lagoon ecosystem;
  • control and eradicate aquatic invasive species;
  • enhance fish and wildlife habitat;
  • provide sustainable recreation opportunities and access;
  • improve educational and interpretive opportunities; and
  • restore habitat for Tahoe yellow cress, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and species of value to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

“Meeks Bay is a treasured place for many residents and visitors to the West Shore,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director, Joanne S. Marchetta. “This restoration project should highlight what we love about Meeks Bay, while prioritizing the restoration of a severely degraded ecosystem.”

The public workshop on Jan. 7 will provide background information on the project, share proposed restoration and site improvement alternatives and solicit feedback on the alternatives. Register for the public workshop under the Get Involved tab of the project website at www.meeksbayproject.org or by following this zoom link.

In addition to public workshops, a representative stakeholder forum is exploring concepts and vetting ideas to inform the planning process and to ensure the environmental analysis includes the best information and science. The stakeholder forum includes community groups, property owners’ associations, and the Washoe Tribe, among others. The agencies plan to have a draft environmental document, which includes draft alternatives, ready for public input by October 2021.

Learn more about the project and public workshop at www.meeksbayproject.org.

The Meeks Bay Restoration Project aims to restore Meeks Creek to a more natural condition while continuing to support sustainable recreation opportunities. This project is multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative convened by the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, to engage key community groups and the public at large in the development of project alternatives.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.