IL not much new 611

Independence Lake: Not Much New

The Nature Conservancy, after having public meetings and employing Heidi Hill Drum to plump the depth of user sentiment, has provide the following press release to some media.  They didn't supply it to the Sierra County Prospect, probably because the officially never heard of us, even though we send every edition to Chris Fichtel.  Probably just an oversight.

Thanks to friends, who forwarded the PR to the Prospect.  It's below.

TNC also posted some information on line.  Thanks to H.H.D. for forwarding that information.

Here are the links:
The final public outreach report:
The final recreation plan for this summer is

It is possible the fightin' ain't over, but it isn't clear how TNC can be moved farther than it has.  The Friends of Indepence Lake still make a case for open public access to the lake, but TNC's meager offering, and all the "public input" work they put in to it would seem to make their case stronger.  They compromised just enough to avoid seeming unfair; getting more will be tough.  It might be possible to whip Sierra County in court, but we don't own the land.

A victory for good sense, fish lovers and at least a degree of parity is reached because no craft are allowed on the lake; what craft there are will be rented on site.  Not everyone is happy with this compromise, but it is fair, it protects the lake, and it leaves it up to those who rent boats to determine what kind of boat pays and what isn't rented much.  It might even reduce the over-all attendance at the lake, which is ideal for the fish and those who love them, and for those who used to go to Independence to get away from everyone else. 

Change has come to Indie Lake, and it ain't leaving.  We have to give TNC credit for at leasting being equally bothersome to everyone.

Here is the press release:

Sacramento Office

555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1290

Sacramento, California 95814

tel     [916] 449-2850

fax    [916] 442-2377




Press Release

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: (


Depending on weather and snow conditions the Independence Lake Preserve is scheduled be open to the public on July 2nd.












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