The Tahoe Basin contains a rich diversity of fish and wildlife that are an integral part of the ecosystem at Lake Tahoe. Land development and previous forest management practices have impacted and modified the natural landscape in the Basin, reducing, fragmenting, and degrading habitat and migration corridors for these species. As a result, wildlife species in the Lake Tahoe Basin are being impacted by a loss of habitat including key habitat types necessary for food, cover, or reproduction.

This action priority will focus on enhancing the biologic integrity of ecosystems to improve the environmental conditions necessary for the full range of species to help compensate for past degradation. EIP partners will coordinate forest fuels management projects with fish and wildlife habitat enhancement projects to ensure that multiple environmental benefits can be gained. Important parts of this Action priority include:

Improving Fish Habitat:  Culverts placed in streams, underneath trails, and roads not only impede movement of fish but can also prevent downstream transport of wood and sediment important for maintaining in-stream habitat. Finding solutions to these barriers that allows fish and other wildlife to pass restores habitat, improves connectivity across the landscape, and improves wildlife diversity.

Restoring LCT. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) once flourished in Lake Tahoe’s waters, but no populations have been found in the Lake since the 1930s. The species is federally listed as threatened under a special rule that permits recreational harvest under state fishing regulations. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) Recovery Plan, finalized in 1995, provides a framework for reintroduction and recovery activities. In 2019, LCT interagency recovery partners collaboratively created and developed the Updated Goals and Objectives (UGOs), to guide conservation of the trout using the best available science and methods available. The UGOs are part of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Plan and reflect the current understanding of the trout’s biology, and its habitat requirements and greatest threats: non-native trout and habitat loss. The focus of the Lake Tahoe program is to restore and recover a self-sustaining lake form of LCT in Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. The reestablishment of the LCT will support a popular recreational fishery in the Basin.

Projects include:

  • Removal of aquatic organism passage barriers.
  • Restoring and Recovering Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
  • Protecting current wildlife populations and their habitats from disturbance.
  • Identifying and establishing new areas that could support additional wildlife populations.
  • Removing and/or rerouting roads and trails around important habitats.
  • Creating wildlife connectivity corridors surrounding urbanized areas.
  • Reestablishing and creating migration corridors.

Action Priority Projects Map

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Some projects operate over larger areas and are not represented on the map, but are listed in the project grid below. A full-screen, filterable version of this map is also available.

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