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555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1290
Sacramento, California 95814
tel  449-2850
fax  442-2377
Embargo until June 9th, 2011 12:00 AM PT
For Additional Information Contact Dan Roth 916-747-9592
The Nature Conservancy Announces Public Recreation Options for Independence Lake
TRUCKEE— The Nature Conservancy today announced its new recreational plan for this summer for the Independence Lake Preserve, a roughly 2300 acre property purchased in 2010, located north of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada. An important part of the development of this plan was an extensive public outreach process, involving public meetings and focus groups attended by over 100 people, and an online survey that received over 700 replies. In addition to public input, TNC and its partners also evaluated other factors, such as degree of risk of aquatic invasive species (AIS) introductions, stipulations in grant agreements with public funders, financial costs of various recreation options, and administrative and logistical issues.
“Of great importance to an overwhelming majority of participants in the public process was the preservation of this beautiful mountain lake and surrounding environment,” said Chris Fichtel, Independence Lake Project Director for The Nature Conservancy in Nevada.
In order to keep the water in Independence Lake clean, maintain public access to the lake, and reduce the risk that aquatic invasive plant and animals might contaminate the lake, The Nature Conservancy along with its partner the Truckee Donner Land Trust will provide a limited number of boats, kayaks and fishing pontoons for rent for on-site use by the public. The public will also have access to a limited number of walk-in campsites and the woods surrounding Independence Lake will be open to hikers.
No boats or paddlecraft from outside the Preserve will be permitted. In response to public demand for both motorized boats on the one hand, and demand for motor-free recreation experiences on the other, the motorboats will only be available for rent every other week. The campsites and all watercraft will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“The Nature Conservancy’s approach to recreation at the Independence Lake Preserve allows for the protection of this valuable ecosystem while maintaining most historical uses and allowing public access and diverse recreation preferences such as motor boating, camping, hiking, kayaking and fishing,” Fichtel added.
Aquatic invasive species pose a real threat to Sierra Lakes. Eurasian water milfoil could get into the lake transported by boats or trailers. Dense stands of Eurasian water milfoil can negatively impact recreational uses like swimming, boating, and fishing, and result in deteriorating water quality and water clarity.
Other invasive species like Zebra and Quagga mussels could choke the outflow of Independence Lake, interfering with delivery of water downstream to the Reno/Sparks area, and increasing the costs of water delivery. In addition, Zebra or Quagga Mussels leave sharp shells on the beaches which can cut and hurt both human feet and the pads of dog’s feet. Aquatic Invasive Species have already been documented in nearby waters, such as at Lake Tahoe and Lahontan Reservoir, but they are not yet present at Independence Lake.
As we move into the 2011 season at the Independence Lake Preserve, recreation access and uses will be implemented in a timely and prudent way to ensure a quality experience for visitors. Additional information about recreation options and the public input process will be available at: (http://tncindependencelake.wordpress.com/)
Depending on weather and snow conditions the Independence Lake Preserve is scheduled be open to the public on July 2nd.