Department of the Interior
Office of the Secretary
August 10, 2006
775 722-9796 (cell) / 775 861-6588
|Secretary of The Interior Kempthorne Makes Available $48 Million for Lake Tahoe Protection
LAKE TAHOE—At the Lake Tahoe Forum today at Nevada State Park’s Sand Harbor, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced approval of more than $48 million to help protect and restore the Lake Tahoe Basin.
"Today I’m pleased to authorize more than $48 million under Round 7 of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act to continue to restore the health of this beautiful lake," Secretary Kempthorne said. "This process and this event today are great examples of the President’s cooperative conservation initiative--partners from all levels of government, both political parties, the private sector, environmental agencies, tribes, businesses and volunteer groups all working together in a spirit of collaboration to do the right thing for our environment and for this community."
In his remarks at the annual forum, Kempthorne unveiled the expenditures of $44.4 million for capital projects and $3.8 million for projects such as air and water quality improvement and the management of forest and ecological communities.
Secretary Kempthorne noted that restoration projects at Lake Tahoe are aimed at controlling urban runoff, land erosion and drainage problems that have caused the lake’s water visibility to decline in recent years. Water quality improvement and erosion control will receive $25.8 million including $10 million that will go to local governments for erosion control. Water restoration and habitat improvement will receive $7 million--$2.3 million of which will go for continuing restoration of natural ecological processes at Blackwood Creek, for example.
“Today’s funds will, among other things, improve the health of the surrounding forests and reduce hazardous fuels that could cause a fire that would adversely affect the ecosystem surrounding the lake,” he said. “The funds will also go towards science and research to improve water and air quality.”
An appropriations bill in 2003 directed that $300 million be spent over eight years for federal environmental restoration projects at LakeTahoe. With today’s approval, total funding from the Department of the Interior amounts to more than $128.6 million.
Much of the money for projects comes to the Lake Tahoe Basin from funding under authority of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, as amended, to implement the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The funds for the recommended Lake Tahoe projects are generated by land sales conducted by the Bureau of Land Management in the Las Vegas Valley. Federal agencies receiving capital projects funding today are the Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Highways Administration and U.S. Forest Service.
Secretary Kempthorne joined Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign as well as other federal, state, tribal and local leaders at the Lake Tahoe Forum, an annual event since 1997. The meeting featured a comprehensive discussion of progress and plans for protecting and preserving Lake Tahoe. The Lake Tahoe Forum was organized this year by Senator Ensign’s office.
Highlights of projects in the $48 million announced today include:
Fuels Reduction and Forest Health—$10.3 million
Watershed Restoration and Habitat Improvement—$7 million
Water Quality Improvement/Erosion Control—$25.8 million
Adaptive Management—to establish a collaborative framework for monitoring Lake Tahoe—$1.2 million
Science and Research—$3.7 million