May 12, 2021

Cortez Masto Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize Lake Tahoe Restoration Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend the authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which has served as the cornerstone for federal funding since the original law passed in 2000, helping deliver millions in federal funding for environmental protection and habitat restoration programs. This legislation is supported by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Mark Amodei (R-Nev.-02), John Garamendi (D-Calif.-03), Dina Titus (D-Nev.- 01), Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03), and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04).

“Lake Tahoe is a treasure that provides a beautiful refuge for Nevadans to enjoy while boosting our state’s tourism economy,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This legislation has helped fund numerous restoration and conservation projects while supporting local jobs. I’ll keep working across the aisle to make sure we can deliver this funding to the region and help  local governments, non-profits, and engaged businesses around the lake to preserve and protect Tahoe for generations to come.”

“Lake Tahoe is one of our state’s natural wonders, and over the years, extensive work has been done to protect this majestic body of water from contamination,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to help lead this legislation which will provide funding to restore Lake Tahoe’s water quality and protect the area against the threat of pollution, wildfires, and invasive species. I will continue working with colleagues in the region to protect the safe access to recreational activities at Lake Tahoe for generations to come.”

“We’ve made tremendous progress in restoring Lake Tahoe since President Clinton’s visit in 1997 for the first Lake Tahoe Summit. Unfortunately, climate change is magnifying the threats facing Lake Tahoe, including warming lake temperatures, declining clarity, thriving invasive species and more dangerous wildfires,” said Senator Feinstein. “We have a responsibility to protect this magnificent lake. Reauthorizing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act is a big part of that effort, ensuring that the federal government remains an active partner in preserving the lake and surrounding basin.”

“Lake Tahoe is a California treasure and we must do everything we can to protect it for future generations,” said Senator Padilla. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the reauthorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act to provide critical funding to preserve Lake Tahoe and protect it against pollution, invasive species, and the threat of wildfires.”

“Anyone who has experienced Lake Tahoe’s exceptional beauty understands the importance of preserving this national treasure for future generations,” said Rep. Amodei. “In order to do so, we must continue making the Lake a priority by responsibly investing in management solutions that will preserve its unique environment, our local economy, and the community’s quality of life. Our legislation upholds this federal commitment by continuing to focus on the key priorities that will prevent imminent threats and combat invasive species in the region. I’m pleased to team up with our Nevada Senators on this important effort and proud to be leading it on the other side of the Capitol with the entire Nevada House Delegation.”

“Lake Tahoe is a national treasure and it must be protected for future generations to enjoy and explore,” said Congresswoman Titus. “Preservation of this Jewel of the Sierra and its surrounding environment is also critical to Nevada’s economy. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Nevada to conserve our public lands and boost tourism.”

“Lake Tahoe is a national environmental treasure and I’m so proud to join the entire Nevada federal delegation in introducing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Reauthorization Act,” said Rep. Lee. “The Tahoe Basin is full of stunning scenery, supports a tremendous diversity of wildlife and attracts tourists from around the globe who come to revel in this natural beauty. Not only is Lake Tahoe important to Nevada’s natural history, it also supports the Nevada economy. I’m committed to doing everything I can to protect the Tahoe Basin for generations to come.”

 “Lake Tahoe’s stunning landscapes and clear blue water make it one of the world’s finest treasures, cherished by Nevadans and tourists alike,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “Our legislation will provide critical funding to increase water clarity, combat invasive species and properly manage the Lake Tahoe Basin. I’m proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to preserve and protect Lake Tahoe for future generations of Nevadans to enjoy.”

“Lake Tahoe is a national treasure,” said Rep. John Garamendi. “Keeping Tahoe blue should be more than a bumper sticker—it should be a priority in Congress. This bill will provide additional federal funding for public projects across the Tahoe Basin desperately needs to stop devastating wildfires with responsible forest management, restore the watersheds by reducing runoff, and combat invasive species. As the House sponsor of the 2016 Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, I am thrilled to again work with my Congressional colleagues to reauthorize federal funding to Keep Tahoe Blue for residents and visitors alike for generations to come.”

The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was originally signed into law in November of 2000. It authorized $300 million for the restoration of Lake Tahoe, and after a lapse between 2010 and 2016, was reauthorized in 2016. This law is currently expected to expire in 2024, and ensuring there is no gap in authorization or appropriation is a top priority for both Nevada and California. This bill will allow for uninterrupted  conservation and restoration planning for the Lake across six project categories, including environmental protection, fire risk reduction, invasive species management, storm water and erosion control, endangered species recovery, and project oversight reauthorization, and will ensure that regional managing agencies have the capability to plan for long-term restoration projects through 2034.

This legislation is supported by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, and the Tahoe Chamber of Commerce.

“The threatened scenic, ecological, and recreational richness of Lake Tahoe is of enormous importance to our communities, the states of Nevada and California, and the nation,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, Executive Director of the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. “We applaud the bi-partisan and bi-state support for this legislation that will allow the continued restoration of a national treasure.”

Senator Cortez Masto is a longtime champion for Lake Tahoe, leading efforts in the Senate to conserve the region and protect the Lake. She has called for a comprehensive, collaborative, and science-based approach to protect Lake Tahoe and other water resources in Nevada from the threat of climate change and invasive species and has secured  authorization to create an Invasive Species in Alpine Lakes Pilot Program to eradicate dangerous aquatic invasive species and protect lakes like Lake Tahoe  Cortez Masto has also secured nearly $100,000 in federal funding to address microplastic pollution in Lake Tahoe, as well as a new pollution-reducing shuttle service from Reno to Lake Tahoe.