North America, Smart Energy, Sustainability, United States, Water
Restoring Snow Creek Stream, Sustainably
Project is the United State's first to receive the Envision platinum rating
Snow Creek Stream and its surrounding meadow and wetlands in North Lake Tahoe, California, is a scenic area bordering residential neighborhoods, commercial properties and acres of recreational land. In the 1950s, a concrete batching facility was built over a portion of the meadow. Over the next 50 years of operation, extensive fill was placed over sensitive land and soils were impacted by concrete manufacturing and equipment fueling and maintenance activities.
CDM Smith partnered with Placer County to provide planning and design services to restore the site. This multi-objective project included restoring sensitive environmental areas, stormwater treatment, trail improvements and educational and way-finding signage. Approximately 7,000 cubic yards of fill soils and debris, placed on the property over a several decades, was excavated. Portions of this material were screened onsite to salvage sand, gravel, cobble and boulder-sized materials for reuse in the project’s construction. The area was re-graded and a new channel was constructed to restore the site’s predevelopment hydrology and stream environment zone (SEZ) habitat. The restored area was re-vegetated with native wetland and upland plant species, using existing plants from the undeveloped portion of the project area.
Stormwater impacts to Snow Creek and Lake Tahoe are now mitigated through a pretreatment forebay, an infiltration basin and a new channel that is routed through constructed wetland areas. A raised boardwalk and recycled railcar bridge span the sensitive meadow areas and the new channel. In addition to the restoration and trail design, CDM Smith coordinated all permitting for the project, and prepared a joint California Environmental Quality Act and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency environmental document and the National Environmental Policy Act documentation.
Funding for planning and construction of the project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program, the Bureau of Reclamation with the Department of the Interior, the State of California Resources Agency, the California Abatement Account, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Water Quality Mitigation Fund and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
The Snow Creek SEZ restoration was among the nation’s first projects to be guided and rated by Envision™, and the first to receive a platinum rating. Envision is a sustainability rating system for public infrastructure that was developed by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts.