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A big leap forward for Upper Truckee restoration

League to Save Lake Tahoe & Tahoe Fund
March 15, 2024

Dear Friends,

We are writing today with monumental news! With support from the League to Save Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Fund, the California Tahoe Conservancy is purchasing the Motel 6 property and surrounding 31 acres that sit within the Upper Truckee River watershed next to Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.

Long before environmental regulations were created to avoid such travesties, the motel was built in the middle of Tahoe’s largest marsh ecosystem, grossly impacting the native habitat and clarity of the Lake. It has long been a goal of both our organizations and many agencies in the Basin to see this development removed from these sensitive lands and the wetlands restored to their function as a natural pollution filter for the Lake.  

Click on the above map to see the acquisition location.
Credit: California Tahoe Conservancy

The property is being purchased with funding from the Conservancy, California Wildlife Conservation Board, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and our two organizations.

The first step will be to secure the property and prepare for removal of the motel. Over the next few years, planning work will commence on restoration of the lands.

As California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot noted, “This environmental acquisition may be the most important in a generation to protect Lake Tahoe. By reconnecting the most important wetland that filters water flowing into the Lake, this investment protects the Lake’s precious water quality and also provides an important corridor for local wildlife.”

In addition to restoring the watershed and native habitat, the acquisition further advances the 2012 Lake Tahoe Regional Plan and Environmental Improvement Program by removing aging development from sensitive land and retiring or transferring development rights to town centers.

The land protected by this acquisition is part of the homeland of the waší∙šiw (Washoe people – the people from here). The waší∙šiw are the aboriginal stewards of the land in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin. As a sovereign nation, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, as it is known today, continues to advocate for the protection and preservation of waší∙šiw ɁítdeɁ (the Washoe people’s homelands).

As this acquisition came together, the Tahoe Fund and League to Save Lake Tahoe worked in tandem to support the Conservancy’s offer. We are delighted that we could help the Conservancy acquire the property and set it on a course to revitalization.

“Protecting and restoring this property is such an important priority for all our Basin partners,” said Jason Vasques, executive director for the Conservancy. “We’re grateful to the Tahoe Fund and League to Save to Lake Tahoe for playing an essential role in pursuing this historic acquisition.”

Aiding this important acquisition continues a long-running trend of support by the League and Tahoe Fund, contributing in distinct and complementary ways to a common goal.

For decades, the League has taken part in collaborative efforts to restore and improve the Upper Truckee Marsh and river habitat using citizen science, public education, and hands-on volunteer projects. The team has also consistently advocated to decision-makers in Sacramento to ensure this acquisition remains a priority for the State.

The restoration of the Upper Truckee River has long been a major strategic initiative of the Tahoe Fund. In 2019, they played an instrumental role in the public acquisition of the 206-acre Johnson Meadow property immediately to the south of the Motel 6 in the heart of the Upper Truckee River Watershed, another major milestone in the restoration of the river.

Together, our two organizations will continue to work alongside the Conservancy and partners to return these sensitive lands back to a healthy and functioning wetland, improve the Lake’s water quality and clarity, and balance public access with the needs of our environment. 

You can read the Conservancy’s press release here.

In partnership for the Lake,

Steve Spurlock
Board Chair, League to Save Lake Tahoe

Dr. Darcie Goodman Collins
CEO, League to Save Lake Tahoe

Cory Ritchie
Board Chair, Tahoe Fund

Amy Berry
CEO, Tahoe Fund

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