Meeks Bay Resort and Meeks Bay Campground receive needed improvments

The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) completed an important water quality improvement project last fall on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The Meeks Bay Resort Best Management Practice (BMP) Retrofit project was designed to improve water quality and accessibility at this historic resort.

 

Color photo of the new stone parking area and swale at the Kehlet House, Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new stone parking area at the Kehlet House, Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new stone parking area at the Kehlet House, Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new large swale or infiltration basin at the Kehlet House, Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new swale or infiltration basin at the Kehlet House, Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of a new small infiltration basin in the campground at Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new barrier wall at the campground at Meeks Bay Resort. Color photo of the new rock drainage at Meeks Bay Campground. Color photo of the new large infiltration basin at Meeks Bay Campground.

 

 

Meeks Bay Resort is located on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe and is operated by the Washoe Tribe of CA and NV under a special use permit from the LTBMU. Built in the early 1900s, areas of the resort were in need of upgrades to bring water quality and accessibility requirements into compliance with current standards. Careful planning took place before the improvements were implemented in order to maintain the visual and aesthetic qualities of the resort.

The Kehlet House overlooking Meeks Bay and Lake Tahoe was built between the 1930s and the 1960s and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Properties. This historic structure is used for weddings and special events. Before the improvements, the parking area at the Kehlet House was native surface covered with wood chips. The parking area was reconstructed with pervious paver stones and boulders were installed to prevent parking on bare soil. Instead of painting lines in the parking lot, which would detract from the historic setting, pavers of different colors and alternating patterns were installed to differentiate parking spaces. "The Meeks Bay improvements showcase how projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin can be both aesthetically pleasing and provide the water quality upgrades needed to reduce the amount of sediments that reach Lake Tahoe." said project leader Ashley Sommer.

A large swale or infiltration basin was constructed on the north side of the parking area that is adjacent to Lake Tahoe. Runoff from the parking area is captured and allowed to infiltrate the soil instead of running into the lake. An accessible entrance to the beach/ lakefront area was constructed and BMPs were installed around the Kehlet House and the cabins along the lakeshore. Overhead electrical wires previously supported by trees were removed and installed underground in order to comply with current building codes.

Improvements to the resort campground included paving and grading 11 campsites and constructing 15 small infiltration basins throughout the campground. The infiltration basins capture runoff and allow it to soak into the ground instead of running into nearby Meeks Creek and Lake Tahoe. A barrier wall was constructed between the campground and Highway 89. Double split-face blocks filled with cement and columns and caps made of granite replaced the existing chain link fence. The new wall allows runoff from the highway to slow and infiltrate the soil before reaching the campground.

At nearby Meeks Bay Campground, a channel previously lined with plastic that held runoff from Highway 89 was replaced with a rock channel and large infiltration basin. The infiltration basin at the bottom of the new rock channel collects runoff and allows it to permeate the soil preventing sediment from reaching Lake Tahoe.

This significant water quality project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act and water line work in the campground was funded by the regional Capital Improvement Program.