For Immediate Release
November 9, 2000


Contact: Judith Unsicker
(530) 542-5462


Lahontan Water Board Will Consider Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) For Heavenly Creek


South Lake Tahoe, CA- The State agency responsible for regulating water quality in the eastern Sierra is seeking public input on proposed sediment and erosion controls for Heavenly Valley Creek within the Heavenly ski resort boundaries. Called Total Maximum Daily Loads, TMDLs are required by federal law for all surface water bodies that are not meeting State water quality standards and which are not expected to meet State standards after control of "point sources", such as industrial or municipal discharges. Federal regulations require that TMDLs include an assessment of the current situation and reasonable assurance that State standards will be attained.

The mandatory public comment period for the draft TMDLs and corresponding environmental documents lasts 45 days and began November 7.

Heavenly Valley Creek is listed under the federal Clean Water Act as impaired by sedimentation. According to staff of the Lahontan Regional Board, the impairments have violated water quality standards, affected aquatic life in the creek, and contributed to sediment buildup in Lake Tahoe, which is also listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. The draft TMDLs use data from a U.S. Forest Service model to estimate sediment runoff from ski runs, unpaved roads, and natural sources in the watershed. The TMDL implementation program relies on continuation of existing erosion control and monitoring programs at Heavenly, with additional monitoring to track watershed recovery and attainment of standards.

The Lahontan Board will accept written comments on the draft documents, or verbal comments at its January 11-12, 2001 meeting in South Lake Tahoe. The regional board will consider approving the TMDLs at the conclusion of the January public hearing. To receive copies of the proposed TMDLs and environmental document, or to obtain more information, contact Judith Unsicker at (530) 542-5462. The TMDLs and environmental document will also be available on the Internet at or by visiting your local county library.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.