Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright, 202-208-6416
For Immediate Release: Aug. 5, 2004
Jo Simpson, 775-861-6629
Secretary Norton Announces $37 Million
Earmarked for Restoration of Lake Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE, Nev.-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton accompanied by members of the Nevada Congressional delegation, today announced her approval of $37 million to restore and improve the water quality at Lake Tahoe. Norton noted that funds for the restoration will come from the sale of public land under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998 (SNPLMA).

"Lake Tahoe is one of America's crown jewels. These funds will provide the important restoration work needed to help ensure that this one-time pristine lake will be restored for future generations to enjoy," Norton said. "I commend the hard work and diligent efforts of the Nevada Congressional delegation for amending the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to allow funds to be used to reverse the declining clarity of Lake Tahoe."

Norton added that with the exception of the Lake Tahoe restoration and the purchase of environmentally sensitive land in Nevada, spending under SNPLMA is limited to Clark County. The use of funds for restoration work at Lake Tahoe was authorized through a 2003 amendment to the Act.

"The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act is innovative and good for Nevada," said Norton. "The proceeds from the land sales benefit citizens and visitors to Nevada by protecting environmentally sensitive lands, and multispecies habitat, as well as providing funds to improve recreational opportunities."

Under the Act, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management is authorized to sell public lands that are more appropriate for private ownership and development, and turn the funds around for education, water and conservation in the State of Nevada. The land sold is controlled by the community and enables growth to be planned and coordinated for the fast-growing Las Vegas Valley.

The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) was passed into law in October, 1998. It allows the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada. Proceeds from those sales are then made available for certain types of projects. In November 2003, the Act was amended to direct $37.5 million to Lake Tahoe each year to implement the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act (Federal Environmental Improvement Program responsibilities).

Projects that are funded by SNPLMA are submitted each year to the Secretary of the Interior for approval. Today's approval marks the fifth round of approvals since the Act was signed into law in 1998. The project categories include parks, trails and natural areas managed by local government in the Las Vegas area; preservation and conservation initiatives on federally-managed lands; development of the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan; and capital improvements on federally-managed lands in Clark County.



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