Sacramento — The State Water Resources Control Board recently approved certification of a water quality management plan that allows regional planning and water quality agencies to balance infill development needs and environmentally protective policies focused on improving Lake Tahoe clarity.
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The State Water Board action certifies the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Clean Water Act Section 208 Lake Tahoe Water Quality Management Plan for California — last updated in 1989. This follows a March 2013 action by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection for a similar certification. The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Lahontan Water Board) took action on this earlier this year. The State Water Board’s action sets the stage for final approval of the plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Protecting Lake Tahoe is a State Water Board priority. This action is another important step to reverse decades of sediment and nutrient contaminants entering the lake by ensuring redevelopment and new construction follow best practices to restore the crystal clear waters of the lake,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
“The State Board’s action paves the way to integrate recently adopted land use policies, and strengthens the Lahontan Water Board efforts to reduce sediment and other contaminants from entering Lake Tahoe,” said Patty Kouyoumdjian, executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The 208 Water Quality Management Plan provides a comprehensive framework for water quality management in the Lake Tahoe basin and describes mechanisms to achieve desired water quality outcomes. The previous 208 Plan, (adopted in 1989) reflected development pressures, land use planning concerns and environmental practices of the time. The updated plan provides an up-to-date framework for managing water quality that incorporates the Water Board’s science-based approach to restoring Lake Tahoe’s clarity, known as the Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The Lake Tahoe TMDL (adopted in 2011) calls for a continued focus on reducing sediment and nutrients found in urban runoff from reaching the Lake. Updated land use policies adopted by the TRPA help by incentivizing the restoration of sensitive lands and the redevelopment of aging infrastructure.
State Water Board 208 Plan certification and pending US EPA approval clears the way for implementing important land use policies found in TRPA’s recently updated Regional Plan that support the Water Board’s TMDL approach.
For more information on this plan, visit trpa.org/documents/rp_update/Final_Draft/208/Final_Draft_Lake_Tahoe_208_WQMP_02-13-2013.pdf.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board’s mission is to preserve, protect, enhance and restore the quality of California’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. For more information visit waterboards.ca.gov/lahontan.