Three county North Lake Tahoe environmental improvement projects earn ‘Best in Basin’ awards

Published on September 29, 2016

Placer County continues to be recognized for exemplary environmental efforts at North Lake Tahoe. Two projects have been awarded the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Best in the Basin” award for 2015, and another county program was recognized as a partner on another award.

Placer’s Department of Public Works and Facilities received awards for its Lower Chipmunk and Outfall Water Quality Improvement Project in Kings Beach and the Lake Forest Water Quality Improvement Project - Panorama Phase. The mPower program was recognized as a project partner on the Granlibakken Tahoe energy efficiency upgrades project.

“Our engineers in Tahoe have come up with innovative ways to reduce the sediment and nutrients flowing into Lake Tahoe and degrading its clarity,” said Public Works and Facilities Director Ken Grehm. “These two projects are part of our commitment to use cutting-edge methods and technologies to not only reduce the damage that’s been done to the lake, but to reverse it.”

Kansas McGahan

Placer's Kansas McGahan displays one of the county's "Best in Basin" awards for 2015, presented by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The Lower Chipmunk project addresses the watershed above Kings Beach down through the “grid,” the residential streets above Highway 28 and down to the shore of Lake Tahoe. Public Works and Facilities went up into the watershed and took a broader look at water flows and designed a system that collects, conveys and treats sediment-carrying stormwater runoff that previously flowed unchecked through the streets of Kings Beach and into the lake. That project works in tandem with sediment control features in the county’s Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project downtown revitalization effort to reduce the pollutants reaching lake.

The Lake Forest project is the fourth and final phase of a 173-acre project to repair decades-old environmental damage. In the 1960s, the Lake Forest meadow was graded flat for a future housing development that was never built. Creeks that flowed through the meadow were diverted into culverts.

The project restored the environment of Lake Forest Creek through the Panorama neighborhood, replanted native vegetation and created a new outfall into the lake. The final phase built water quality treatment and erosion control improvements.

Granlibakken Tahoe received an award for their energy efficiency upgrades, which resulted in an estimated 43 percent reduction in energy use and annual savings up to $44,000. Placer County’s mPower program was recognized as a partner for providing the project financing. Sierra Business Council was also recognized as a partner for their role in project management.

“We congratulate Granlibakken on their award and are pleased to see their leadership in energy efficiency and the environment recognized,” said mPower Program Administrator Jenine Windeshausen. “We hope others in the Tahoe area will consider increasing energy efficiency to save money and improve the environment.”

The annual awards are given to projects around the lake that improve the environmental and economic health in the basin and its surrounding communities.