The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection has entered into agreements with Douglas and Washoe counties and the Nevada Department of Transportation to implement the Lake Tahoe total maximum daily load. The measurement is a science-based effort aimed at restoring the lake’s historic clarity.
The bi-state effort is based on findings that indicate the majority of fine sediment and phosphorous pollutants impacting clarity are delivered to the lake via stormwater runoff from developed lands. Accordingly, Nevada and California local governments and state transportation agencies are responsible for controlling stormwater discharges from their respective jurisdictions.
Nevada’s environmental agency sought to use a more flexible, collaborative and efficient approach than the issuance of regulatory permits. In consultation with the Nevada urban jurisdictions, the state crafted interlocal agreements that lay out the roles, commitments and actions of each signatory party to restore the Lake’s clarity. The agreements oblige jurisdictions to take actions and implement controls to achieve pollutant load reduction milestones established in the report. The report and more information about the Lake Tahoe watershed can be found at www.ndep.nv.gov/bwqp/tahoe.htm.
While each agreement lasts until Aug. 16, 2016, the agreements are better viewed as “living commitments” that are intended to be updated on a five-year cycle in order to restore clarity to historic levels within 65 years.
“Lake Tahoe’s value as an international recreation destination, a drinking water source and an asset to the local and regional economies is inextricably linked to its extraordinary ecologic and aesthetic value,” said Nevada environmental administrator Colleen Cripps.