The ongoing effort to maintain Lake Tahoe got a bipartisan push Wednesday, when Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer joined Nevada's two senators to introduce the proposed Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which would authorize $415 million over 10 years to improve the lake's water clarity and protect the basin from wildfire.
The bill, co-sponsored by Democrat Harry Reid and Republican John Ensign of Nevada, proposes funding for a range of projects, including watershed restoration and storm-water management, two key factors in maintaining the lake's renowned water clarity.
In addition, the bill would set aside $136 million for fuels-reduction projects to help protect the Tahoe basin and its landowners from fires, and for removal of invasive species.
The legislation is a follow-up to a 2000 law that provided $453.8 million to maintain the environmental health of the Tahoe basin.
The tab to maintain the lake is substantial. According to Feinstein's office, in the last 10 years -- in addition to the federal funding -- Tahoe preservation efforts have required $616.6 million from California, $91.3 million from Nevada, $61.4 million from local governments and $264.4 million in in-kind contributions from the private sector.
-- Julie Cart
Photo: A view of Lake Tahoe with the Sierra in the background. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times