Shoreline: Protecting shoreline beauty, water and air quality

Paddleboarder at sunset | Image by Peter SpainLake Tahoe’s shoreline is unique. Its beaches, cliffs, forests and rock outcrops are where most of Tahoe’s millions of annual visitors experience the Lake. Protection of Tahoe’s shoreline scenic and environmental quality is truly of national significance, and is central to the League’s mission. That’s why we’ve been a key stakeholder in all the conversations around shoreline protections for decades. A collaborative process has been underway for the last two years to create a plan that balances access to Lake Tahoe with environmental protection. Visit the Shoreline Plan page for more information on the plan and next steps.

For nearly four decades Lake Tahoe has been without a comprehensive Shoreline Plan, which has stalled the implementation of environmental improvement projects. The League to Save Lake Tahoe joined the Shoreline Steering Committee in 2016, and has been actively working to get a strong, publicly supported plan in place. On October 24, 2018 that happened when an official plan was approved. The plan will enhance the recreation experiences around the Lake while also protecting the environment and planning responsibly for our future.

Summary of 2018 Plan (buildout and comparison)

The 2018 plan limits the number of structures (i.e. docks, buoys, boat slips) that can be built along our Lake’s shoreline and provides oversight of them. The 2018 preferred alternative incorporates these numbers but also incorporates safeguards to ensure metered release of permits for slow growth and incentives to retire development. This plan also eliminates new marinas and prioritizes and incentivizes multi-use piers.

 Existing2018 Shoreline Plan additionsFull buildout 2040
Moorings (buoys) - legal 4,200 2,116 new 6,316
Public slips 1,218 No new, Marinas and can trade buoys at 1:1 Depends on trade
Other facilities
Private piers - individual 547   128 new
Private piers - multi-user 191
Private piers 738 866
Public piers 24 10 new 34
Piers Total 762 138 new 900
Boat ramps - public 19 2 new 21
Marinas 14 No new marinas, expansions only w/ environmental improvements 14


Plan Highlights

  • Reduction of development potential of piers and moorings, incentivize multi-parcel piers and clustering of moorings, boat lifts and personal watercraft now count as a mooring. Incentives for multi-use pier include allowance for slight increases in length and width and prioritized permitting.
  • Adaptation to low lake levels without allowing long, permanent structures.
  •  Ensured enforcement of moorings and no-wake zones through development of MOUs and dedicated funding.
  • Boater education plan, including a smartphone application, along with funding. The League will partner with TRPA to develop the boating app to help with navigation, no-wake zone identification, and safety.
  • Ensure marina improvements have direct tie to environmental benefit, including requirement of aquatic invasive species management plans.
  • No new marinas allowed.
  • Watercraft rentals limited to specific locations and require clearer oversight and regulation of rental fleets.
  • Include Tahoe Keys in the baseline calculations, and collect user fees, for moorings and boating activity.
  • Phased release of pier permits that includes adaptive management.
  • Stronger noise regulation/enforcement.
  • Expanded no-wake zones, including all of Emerald Bay and a moving 100-foot buffer around swimmers and non-motorized users.
  • Expanded Tahoe Yellow Cress protection and mitigation for disturbance.

Read the League's July 2018 comment letter on the draft environmental impact statement
Read the Tahoe Lakefront Owners' Association comment letter on the draft environmental impact statement

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