© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
iPhone users: Having trouble listening live on KUNR.org? Click here to download our app to listen to your favorite shows.

Nevada, Calif. leaders gather in D.C. to discuss importance of extending Lake Tahoe Restoration Act

A group of people in business attire are smiling and standing in front of the U.S. Capitol. Many are holding signs that say, “Team Tahoe” or “Protect Lake Tahoe.”
Rylee McIver
RR Partners
Team Tahoe press conference on Capitol Hill in support of extending the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2016, on March 13, 2024, Washington D.C.

A group of Nevada and California elected officials, tribal leaders, and representatives from public and private entities are in Washington, D.C. to urge the extension of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2016.

The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act is bipartisan legislation that provides funding for projects that support forest health, water for fire infrastructure, watershed restoration, and more.

The Act expires on Sept. 30, 2024 and the $400 million authorized through the legislation has not been spent, said Dr. Darcie Goodman Collins, CEO of League to Save Lake Tahoe.

“We've only spent less than 1/4 of the funding that was authorized through this current act. So we're hoping to get it extended for another 10 years so the important Lake saving projects can get on the ground,” Goodman Collins said.

Since the Act’s passage in 2016, Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program partners have implemented hundreds of projects and supported nearly 2,000 jobs per year.

Nearly 80 percent of the Lake Tahoe watershed is under federal ownership, board chair Steve Spurlock said.

“Lake Tahoe is so blue and so beautiful, and so pristine, and so sought after by 15 million visitors a year. But it wouldn't be that way without work like this, without the projects that the federal money goes to, that lake would look dramatically different,” Spurlock said.

These federal dollars have been fundamental for projects such as the recovery of one of Tahoe’s native fish, which has significant cultural value to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, chairman Serrell Smokey said.

“The Washoe tribe still currently runs about seven projects out of Lake Tahoe for conservation, restoration and reimplementation of the original Lahontan cutthroat trout in the waters, fixing the watershed streams that come down to the mountains,” Smokey said.

In March 2023, a bill to extend the authorization was reintroduced by Cortez Masto with the support of other legislators.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.