Lake Tahoe Summit stresses importance of collaboration |

Lake Tahoe Summit stresses importance of collaboration

by Margaret Moran
Former Vice President Al Gore, from left, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein chat before the 2012 Lake Tahoe Summit got under way Monday morning at Sand Harbor State Park.
Margaret Moran / | Sierra Sun

The message that there’s more work to be done to protect the famed clarity of Lake Tahoe was well received by those attending Monday’s Lake Tahoe Summit.

“People think we’ve solved the problems of Tahoe,” said Charles Goldman, an expert on inland water, who was one of more than 700 experts, residents and officials attending the 17th annual summit. “That’s excessively optimistic. It’s a work in progress that’s got to continue.”

To date, restoration projects, best management practices, among other efforts have been carried out in order to improve Lake Tahoe clarity. While 2012 marks the second consecutive year of overall clarity improvement, according to 2013 State of the Lake report, climate change and invasive species remain concerns.

“Each one of us here can make a difference, and it was inspiring to hear them charge us to do that — to do our part,” said Cindy Gustafson, general manager of the Tahoe City Public Utility District.

The importance of collaboration was highlighted at the summit, which was represented in the lineup of speakers: U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, California Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, with former Vice President Al Gore as the keynote speaker.

“I appreciate the fact that he (Gore) talked about how Tahoe can play a leadership role not only in the country, but in the world,” said Steve Teshara, chairman of the Tahoe Transportation District board of directors. “That’s really important because it isn’t just about Tahoe.”

Teshara added that he wished the topic of transportation had been mentioned more at the summit.

“A lot of the focus today was on the restoration act, but … transportation is big,” he said, in terms of lake clarity.

A topic that was mentioned by speakers at the summit was fire safety.

“We have the American fire going, so the fact that it was brought up by a couple of folks today, really is very heartening,” said Jennifer Montgomery, District 5 supervisor for Placer County. “It does have an impact on the basin, and it does have an impact on clarity of the lake.”

All these efforts to preserve the health of the lake are being undertaken for future generations.

“Everything we do today is for future generations — it’s for our grandkids, and our grandkids’ grandkids,” said Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund, a nonprofit that sponsored the summit.

That future generation will carry on this preservation work, said Lori Hoover, a former employee of the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and basin homeowner.

“We may start it, but it’s the (next) generation that’s going to carry this out,” she said.