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Group seeks to protect Lake Tahoe tributary

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POSTED February 19, 2012 11:09 p.m.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE  (AP) — An anglers’ group is asking the federal government to protect a stretch of the Upper Truckee River south of Lake Tahoe with a “wild and scenic” designation.

California Trout seeks to protect the uppermost section of the Lake Tahoe tributary from Meiss Meadows south of Carson Pass to South Upper Truckee Road near Meyers. The river’s mouth is in nearby South Lake Tahoe.

Supporters told the Tahoe Daily Tribune that while there are no imminent threats to the river, the group wants to protect it for future generations.

“If you left it alone for 10, 20, 30 years, it would probably be all right, but who know what will happen in 40, 50, 60 years? I say, do it now before it’s too late,” said Victor Babbit, owner of Tahoe Flyfishing Outfitters.

Alpine County Supervisor Skip Henry Veatch said some residents fear such a designation could affect their ability to do what they want with their property near the river.

“We haven’t taken a position yet,” Veatch said. “Some of our residents had some questions that weren’t answered adequately.”

While the designation ensures rivers and shorelines remain free of dams and mostly primitive, it also recognizes the potential for their “appropriate use and development.”

Other supporters of the designation note the section of river is one of the only places where Lahontan cutthroat trout have been successfully reintroduced into a native stream environment. The river is popular with fly fishermen chasing the threatened species.

“It’s a success story for the Lahontan cutthroat,” said Mikey Wier, a South Lake Tahoe fly fisherman. “They’re our native trout. They’re a piece of our California heritage.”

California Trout works to protect trout and salmon and their habitat across the state.

Meetings on the proposed designation will be held Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe and Wednesday in Markleeville.

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