Springtime Snowmelt and BMPs
The warm temperatures and bright sunshine during the past week have resulted in the usual rapid springtime snow melt around Lake Tahoe. As I watch water flowing down the streets and into the storm drains it brings to mind the need for each homeowner to complete the BMPs on their property. The TRPA requires that every parcel in the Lake Tahoe basin install erosion control measures to help improve lake clarity.
According to the TRPA “Best Management Practices (BMPs) are methods to help developed properties function more like natural, undisturbed forest and meadowland. Water that is conveyed to a lake by an undisturbed watershed is usually quite pure, because the watershed’s soils and plants act as a natural water purification system. BMPs help developed properties mimic natural conditions, preventing sediment and nutrients from entering our surface waters and filtering runoff water through the soil. By implementing BMPs, property owners can help slow the loss of lake clarity.”
Depending on the location of your property, the type of slope, proximity to a stream zone, soil type, vegetation and other factors, the amount of work required to complete the BMPs on your property can vary dramatically. BMPs for residential properties will often require planting vegetation or distributing mulch on bare land and compacted dirt; directing the runoff from snow melt and storm water, especially from impervious surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks and doing work to stabilize steep slopes and loose soil.
Owners of single-family homes and free-standing PUDS/Condos are responsible for doing the BMP work on their property. If you are considering purchasing an attached condo, then the homeowners association may be responsible for the installation of BMPs. The cost might be paid out of reserves or there could be a special assessment, depending on the financial situation of the particular homeowners association. Freestanding condo owners will very often be responsible for installing BMPs around the footprint of their property with the homeowners association taking responsibility for doing the BMPs in the common areas.
Some of the more common requirements to complete your BMPs are distributing gravel or rock mulch under decks and roof drip lines, repaving deteriorating driveways and sidewalks, revegetating compacted dirt areas and installing slotted drains in places where water tends to run off pavement rapidly or collect in pools.
The Nevada Tahoe Conservation District is a nonprofit organization that will perform a BMP analysis at your property at no charge on an appointment basis. I recommend that any homeowner who has not yet installed their BMPs contact the NTCD at 775-586-1610 and talk with one of the staff members about having an evaluation performed at your property. Click the link below to learn more about NTCD.
Another great resource to see if there has been an evaluation completed on your property for your BMPs is the TRPA sponsored website. Click the link below to check it out.
Once there is an evaluation completed on your property, you can contact a local landscaping company or contractor to receive a bid on the work needed or you can complete them yourself. Make sure to have the TRPA come out and issue you a certificate of completion so your property complies and you are protecting the clarity of our beautiful lake. All property owners have a responsibility for maintaining their parcels and keeping Lake Tahoe as clear as possible by reducing contamination from sediment and pollutants.
For a complete overview and checklist of BMP relating to property in the Tahoe Basin, click the link below for a fee download.