USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research TopicsLarge Landscape Restoration

Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership

Forest in the foreground with Lake Tahoe and the mountains in the distance.
A map of the project area for the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.

The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership (Lake Tahoe West) is an interagency, multi-jurisdictional initiative that includes stakeholder participation and a science team. Its primary goal is to restore and maintain the resilience of the forests, watersheds, recreational opportunities, and communities in the western part of the Lake Tahoe basin.

Resilience refers to managing the landscape in ways that enhance its capacity to withstand drought, climate change, wildfire, increased visitor use, bark beetles, and other stressors, without the loss of its ecological processes and its cultural, recreational, and economic values.

The role of science in Lake Tahoe West is to provide objective, impartial information that informs decision-making. The initiative's secondary goal is to develop an approach to landscape restoration that can be replicated in and customized to remaining parts of the Lake Tahoe Basin, and the Sierra Nevada generally.

The U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station has taken the lead in building a collaborative science team that includes scientists from eight universities and three Forest Service research stations. The science team has examined a broad array of resource values, including forest health, wildfire effects, air quality, hydrology, water quality, wildlife, and economics.


Summary report of key findings: Lake Tahoe West Science Summary Report

Road-related erosion:

Recorded webinar presentations

Visit the NFF LTW site for more information.

Journal Articles

Forest resilience:

Aspen restoration:

Water availability and snow:

Applications available via Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) Moscow Forestry Sciences Laboratory

Researchers have developed two customized applications of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model for use by land managers to assess the effects of forest management on surface runoff, soil erosion, and phosphorus from various hillslopes and watersheds around the Basin:

The Tahoe Basin Sediment Model (TBSM) interface gives users the option to run fine-scale simulations for a single hillslope with buffers.

The Lake Tahoe WEPP Watershed GIS Interface (WEPPcloud Lake Tahoe) features aggregated results from various scenarios (e.g. undisturbed, uniform low, moderate, high severities, wildfire, thinning, etc.) from 70 watersheds around the Basin in both text (.csv) and GIS (.shp) formats, as well as a link to viz-WEPPcloud, a visualization tool that allows users to further visualize and interpret results from the aggregated scenarios.

Additional research from the Tahoe Science Program funded by SNPLMA

A tremendous amount of scientific research has been conducted as part of an earlier science partnership supported by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act program. For information on the findings from that research, visit the Tahoe Science Program webpage.