TRPA Regional Plan & Strategic Initiatives


Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Bi-State Compact:

The TRPA Bi-State Compact between California and Nevada (first approved in 1969 and strengthened in 1980) created the TRPA, a bi-state agency with regional land use authority for the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Compact calls for TRPA to adopt environmental standards (termed “Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities”) that protect Lake Tahoe’s unique natural resources, and to adopt a Regional Plan that would regulate development consistent with achieving and maintaining those standards.

Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities:

An “environmental threshold carrying capacity” means an environmental standard necessary to maintain a significant scenic, recreational, educational, scientific or natural value of the region or to maintain public health and safety within the region. TRPA’s adopted standards address air quality, water quality, soil conservation, vegetation preservation, noise, fisheries, wildlife, scenic resources, and recreation. TRPA’s environmental standards were adopted in 1982 and have undergone minor amendments since.

TRPA Regional Plan:

The TRPA’s Regional Plan is a “package” of documents and initiatives that regulate land use in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Regional Plan is intended to regulate development in a way that ensures the threshold standards will be achieved and maintained. According to TRPA, the Regional Plan “package” includes:

The first Regional Plan was adopted in 1987. The most comprehensive update since that time occurred in 2012, when TRPA adopted significant amendments that allowed more development than the original 1987 Regional Plan. FOWS and other organizations and individuals raised extensive concerns about the amendments in the years leading up to their December 2012 adoption, and partnered with the Sierra Club to file a lawsuit against the approval, although the courts eventually decided in TRPA’s favor. (Click here for more information).

Local Area Plans:

One of the key revisions in the 2012 Regional Plan update was to allow local governments more authority to approve projects. This is done through the adoption of local “Area Plans” and associated agreements. The Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan was approved by the TRPA in January 2017. A new area plan for the El Dorado County portion of the West Shore has not been pursued by the county. Learn more about Area Plans.

Strategic Plan and Initiatives:

In 2014, TRPA adopted a Strategic Plan, which identifies ten “Strategic Initiatives” to be completed between 2015-2020. Many of these initiatives lay the foundation for future amendments to the Regional Plan. TRPA’s website lists these initiatives as follows (click on titles below to view TRPA’s information about each initiative). Due to the potential for positive and/or negative impacts from several ongoing initiatives, FOWS provides updates on these processes in our bi-monthly newsletters.

View TRPA’s most recent annual report discussing these initiatives here.