Project Implementation in High-Risk Regions – Tahoe

Department: Tahoe Conservancy

Program Description: The Tahoe Conservancy is reducing wildfire risk to Tahoe communities and improving forest resilience. This work includes reducing flammable vegetation in the forests near homes, neighborhoods, and communities. It also includes managing forest vegetation and restoring meadows and streams to improve forest health and habitat so that these ecosystems are more resilient to insects, disease, wildfire, drought, and climate change. To get all this important work done the Tahoe Conservancy is building capacity by creating new jobs and training programs, using smart technology, and creating efficient government processes.

Overview photo of Forest and Lake
Aerial photo of south Lake Tahoe forested community.

Program Impact: Wildfire and forest resilience funding is helping the Tahoe Conservancy and its partners make progress towards the goals within the Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan. This includes completing and maintaining 25,000 acres of Tahoe’s wildland-urban interface treatments by 2025, with approximately 11,000 acres remaining to reach this goal. The Tahoe Conservancy is also working closely with partners to fund strategic priorities, increase capacity, and improve technologies and science through various partnerships including the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative.

The Tahoe Conservancy aims to complete initial treatments on all 5,500 acres of its forested ownership by 2025 and has committed $6.5 million in wildfire funding so far towards this goal. The Tahoe Conservancy is also working with other State and local partners to complete priority work on other publicly owned properties, consistent with the Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan.

The Tahoe Conservancy has entered into several funding agreements for a total of $5.35 million for work on federal lands. This includes hazard tree removal and emergency fuel hazard reduction work on 1,500 acres of federally owned property adjacent to roads and trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin portion of the Caldor fire footprint. It also includes funding for 70 acres of treatments on federal lands in cross-jurisdictional community protection projects under the Conservancy’s Good Neighbor Agreement with the USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Tahoe Conservancy staff are working with USDA Forest Service staff to incorporate federal land into future planned community protection projects to achieve more comprehensive and beneficial projects.

The Department of Conservation provided additional funding to the Tahoe Conservancy from the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program to increase capacity to treat forests and reduce hazardous fuels throughout the Basin. These funds are supporting multiple projects, including the Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan update, which will collaboratively develop a priority project list for future work. The Tahoe Conservancy also provided a grant to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California to increase their capacity and complete culturally significant projects.

Man Holding Tape Measure in the Forest
Forestry aides with the Tahoe Conservancy identifying project boundaries for future forestry treatment project in support of the Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan.
Man with chainsaw cutting up wood
California Conservation Corps members conducting fuel reduction work on USDA Forest Service property.

Resilience in Action: Firefighters successfully defended Lake Tahoe neighborhoods from the Caldor Fire, without a single home lost in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Firefighters attributed previously completed wildland-urban interface treatments as a major contributor to their success. Wildfire and forest resilience funding is being used by the Conservancy to continue this work throughout other areas in Tahoe so that all neighborhoods and communities have the best odds of survival, no matter where a fire starts.