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BMP workshops updated to help contractors

Posted 4/5/2011

Revamped training will help landscapers avoid costly mistakes

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Best Management Practices (BMP) workshops at Lake Tahoe are being thoroughly updated to help contractors and landscape installers meet new, tougher BMP Retrofit standards for 2011. The workshops are scheduled for April 26 and April 28.

Workshop organizers say this year’s trainings will give BMP installers important information on how to avoid costly mistakes that could prevent an installation from passing a final inspection. The purpose of BMPs is to improve developed landscapes so they do not contribute fine sediment or other pollutants to storm drains and streams flowing into Lake Tahoe. They are required on all developed properties in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Courtney Walker of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District in South Lake Tahoe says that in recent years, problems with infiltration of storm water have become more evident.

"Contractors working with a BMP Site Evaluation need to know that they cannot change the design of an installation without getting approval from the design agency first,” Walker said. “The TRPA and the Conservation Districts want installers to know what to do if they find a boulder, bedrock, signs of a shallow water table or other excavation problems when working at a BMP Retrofit site.”

Both the Basic BMP Workshop on April 28 and the BMP Refresher Course on April 26 will see changes. Both will feature new outdoor demonstrations. Both will also require participants to pass a new, more challenging test for successful course completion and listing on the BMP Installation Service Providers List.

The Basic BMP Workshop is moving from South Lake Tahoe to the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, NV. Its outdoor sessions will be held in the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden, just outside the door on the campus of Sierra Nevada College. This Demonstration Garden has exhibits showing four runoff infiltration systems, four driveway paving options, six slope stabilization methods, fire defensible space techniques, and many erosion control plantings, including eight different types of grasses. All plant species in the garden are labeled.

The BMP Refresher Course will be held at the office of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) on April 26, and it will include an outdoor session about soil characteristics in a nearby stream environment zone (SEZ). If these characteristics are found at a site, no further excavation should be performed.

John Cobourn of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension says that participants will receive a completely revised 120-page book, "How to Install BMPs in the Lake Tahoe Basin," as part of their registration. Pre-registration fees are $20 for the Basic BMP Workshop and $15 for the Refresher Course. Prices go up slightly after April 8. For more details and information on registration, please go to www.unce.unr.edu/adhoc/bmpworkshop.

"We are encouraging all managers and foremen of BMP installation companies to attend one of the workshops this year," Walker said. "We are not only teaching new material in new way, but we also want installers to know that installation errors will not be tolerated, and to learn how to avoid making them."

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