Handbook Offers Help to Combat Ski Area Erosion

With more than two-thirds of the Sierra Nevada’s watersheds in decline due in part to erosion, the California Alpine Resort Environmental Cooperative (CAREC) has been working to address the mounting concerns of ski area erosion impact.

The Lahontan Region of the State Water Resources Control Board, along with ski resorts, regulators, scientists, engineers, and nonprofit organizations, are the driving force of this effort. CAREC has brought together regulators and the regulated to advance sediment source control methods developed from an extremely unique collaborative process.

The Sediment Source Control Handbook: An Adaptive Approach to Restoration of Disturbed Areas, authored by Kevin Drake and Michael Hogan of Integrated Environmental Restoration Services, is produced in collaboration with Sierra Business Council, six California ski resorts and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to help guide restoration efforts at ski resorts and beyond.

The handbook is a user-friendly “roadmap” for planning, implementing, monitoring and continually improving the effectiveness of erosion control and restoration projects.

With 10 years of collaboration among ski areas, regulatory personnel, and research practitioners as its foundation, the handbook effectively bridges the gap between research and implementation of erosion control practices that are proven to work.

“What has really been gratifying about helping with the Sediment Source Control Handbook is the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals, regulators, scientists, and operational staff to develop practical treatment approaches and methods to quantify the return on our investment in watershed protection and improvement,” said John Loomis, director of Operations at Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort. “This handbook really helps to put substance behind the greening of ski areas.”

Hogan, founder of IERS, said: “It doesn’t just tell you what to do, it helps you understand the fundamental concepts of soil protection and restoration so you can make better decisions on your own.”

Whether used by the operations manager of a ski resort, agency staff or a homeowner who wants to do their part improving water quality, the handbook provides a set of tools to achieve successful erosion control and restoration projects, low-impact facilities improvements, and ongoing maintenance requirements.

To learn more, visit www.sbcouncil.org or www.nsaa.org.

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