"The Basin needs a Regional Plan that not only sets a framework for success in achieving water clarity targets... but also creates an environment of certainty for homeowners and private sector investment." Brian Sandoval, Nevada Governor
AUGUST 16, 2011
Governor Brian Sandoval spoke on the occasion of the 15th annual Lake Tahoe Federal Summit hosted on August 16, 2011 by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Following is her introduction and his speech.
Senator Dianne Feinstein: "The Governor of Nevada has dedicated his career to public service and he knows a lot about the Lake. After receiving his law degree Brian Sandoval served as Nevada’s At-Large member of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board. He has also been a federal district court judge for the past four years. I had the pleasure of voting for him…[audience laughter] for his confirmation. Since he was elected last year he has been very active in environmental issues. What has really impressed me is that he took the time to take a day in June to survey current restoration programs in preparation for this Summit. Let me note that he was born in Redding, California. That should be helpful in bringing the two sides together as well. So it is a great deal of pleasure to introduce the Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval." [audience applause]
Governor Brian Sandoval: "Good morning everyone. It is truly a pleasure to be here. Senator, I’ll take your vote any day [audience laughter]. We spoke of Governor Brown as having served 36 years ago as the Governor of the great State of California. I leaned over to him and told him that I remember that as I was entering the seventh grade. [audience laughter]
It is a privilege to be here. I would like to make some acknowledgments before I get into my formal remarks. I had the remarkable experience of coming over here this morning on the Thunderbird yacht. I guess that “majestic” is the best word to describe that boat. I would like to thank Bill Watson and Joan Gib and the crew of the Thunderbird for hosting us. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I also want to tell the Washoe Tribe what a privilege it is to be on your ancestral land. It is a privilege to be here with you today and that was a wonderful, wonderful prayer we heard. I also want to thank Colleen and Art Chapman for hosting this great event today. I don’t know how much more beautiful it gets than this. I leaned over to Senator Reid and I told him “I might give that hill a go this winter” (if you’ll have me here). Also the Senator mentioned the Tahoe Fund event last night and there are a lot of people here that are extremely generous. They share in this joint commitment to protect and preserve Lake Tahoe. An amazing event… and the Senator last night was speaking and as she was speaking the moon crested over the mountains. It was one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. It was perfect timing for you Senator.
It is my pleasure to attend this Tahoe Summit. As the Senator mentioned I did once serve on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. I have been coming to this Lake since I was a little boy at a 4H camp which is on the south side of Lake Tahoe. That is what ingrained in me how important it is to preserve the beauty of Tahoe. It is an honor to be here with Senator Feinstein, with Governor Brown, with Senator Reid, Senator Heller. It is, I believe an historic event for us to all be together in one place on one day. We did have an opportunity yesterday after that luncheon to sit in a room and have discussions. I probably will probably overuse the word today “remarkable” but it was a great, great conversation. Both the Governor and the Senator used the word “collaborative” and I think that’s an apt word because we are going to work very, very well in the future.
As the Senator mentioned, I had the opportunity earlier this summer to tour a significant portion of the East and North Shore of Lake Tahoe with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director, Leo Drozdoff. Leo. I think you deserve a big hand for the commitment that you have made to Lake Tahoe and for the hard work that you have put into this Summit. I very much admire and respect your commitment and your willingness to work across state lines and with my office as well. Thank you very much Leo. [audience applause]
One person doesn’t do it alone. I had the chance to meet many members of the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team and see many of the projects that the Team has worked on through the years since the implementation of the Environmental Improvement Program (the EIP). I am proud to say that the State of Nevada was the first to commit to its share of the first and second phases of the EIP for a total of its share of 180 million dollars. Nevada is here for this.
During the tour I saw first hand the Nevada Division of Forestry crews working in Tunnel Creek to improve forest health and to improve communities by reducing the threat of a catastrophic fire. I want to compliment our firemen today for your commitment to this Basin. I would like to thank you gentlemen, for your service here.
I also got to witness a boat inspection. The Senator mentioned the Quagga mussels. That was a new commitment that has been completed. There is an inspection right there at the top of Spooner Summit. Again, it is one thing to hear about things but it is another to watch them. If you talk to some folks they don’t think that clams and mussels are important. They are. They are a big threat to Lake Tahoe. And to see the commitment of the staff ensuring that none of those boats enter. And the fact that they have identified a boat [with invasive species] and to prevent that means that we should thank them and give them a big hand for their hard work.
I also had the chance to meet this summer with agency partners and with members of the private sector who are committed to infrastructure redevelopment in the Basin’s urban centers. These infrastructure updates are a necessary part of addressing many of the challenges in meeting water clarity targets. We now have a plan that will enable us to more-clearly focus our efforts to restore Lake Tahoe’s famous water clarity. It is known as the Lake Tahoe TMDL or Total Maximum Daily Load. The Tahoe TMDl represents many years of effort- an unprecedented collaboration resulting in groundbreaking determinations and scientific breakthroughs. Many of you who are here today played a very key role in this major accomplishment. I think we should stop at this point and also acknowledge all of that effort and all of that investment because I think everyone has recognized that the biggest threat to clarity now is the arrival of that sediment into the Lake. So this TMDL is a very big deal.
There is one more issue that I would like to go into. I am very proud of the fact that Nevada jurisdictions and the Nevada private sector have been leading efforts in the Basin to implement public-private partnerships to improve Tahoe’s clarity. With the capital costs of achieving the TMDL clarity challenge estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, public-private partnerships may be our best hope of making progress.
I want to talk about one project that is an example of this collaboration. It is the Lake Village EIP #679 Phase 2 led by Douglas County. In 2005 a local Nevada business, Sierra Colina, initiated the project by privately funding an engineering study. This public-private project will remediate severe erosion and drainage issues along Lake Village Drive in Stateline which cause significant sediment transmission and extensive flooding on Highway 50 during storm events. Private parties have donated their private land for public stormwater treatment facilities. The resulting system will treat both Lake Village Drive stormwater runoff and Sierra Colina’s own runoff from its future LEED green residential neighborhood of deed restricted homes. Upon its completion this fall this one Environmental Improvement Project in Douglas County’s estimation will reduce sediment loads into the Lake by over 74 tons per year. I would like to recognize Steve Kenniger for your commitment to Lake Tahoe.
Early this summer I signed into law Senate Bill 271 which I know has been the subject of much discussion. This is a law that generated much discussion and means different things to different audiences. However one key component of the Bill is a call for the adoption of an updated Regional Plan by the end of 2012. Nevada is committed to doing its part to see that this much-needed update is completed by the deadline. The Basin needs a Regional Plan that not only sets a framework for success in achieving the water clarity targets outlined in the TMDL but also creates an environment of certainty for homeowners and private sector investment. I firmly believe that it is essential and achievable to complete an updated plan that provides the opportunity to invest in Lake Tahoe community infrastructure while still improving the environment. And I have no doubt that by working together we will be able to report back at next year’s Summit that significant progress has been made on an updated Regional Plan.
In closing, as I mentioned, we have already begun a cooperative and collaborative process between the States. Again I want to compliment Governor Brown and Senator Feinstein. We are already talking about myself visiting Sacramento and meeting with the Governor and legislators and Governor Brown coming to Carson City to meet with our legislators. I think the best is yet to come.
I do have a small souvenir for the Senator and the Governor. As I rode on the Thunderbird I thought the next opportunity that I had to do that I should be doing so with Senator Feinstein and Governor Brown. But I thought that I’d send them a postcard. It says, 'To the Governor and the Senator, I look forward to working with you on Tahoe. All the Best, Your Friend Brian Sandoval.' Here it is—personally delivered." [audience applause]
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