The 850-acre Bijou Park Creek Watershed within the City of South Lake Tahoe extends from the Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort down to Lake Tahoe at Ski Run Marina. It encompasses several residential neighborhoods and the Bijou Marketplace Commercial Center at Highway 50 and Ski Run Boulevard. Bijou Park Creek traverses the watershed from south to north, beginning at the intersection of Ski Run Blvd and Needle Peak Road conveying flows from its watershed combined with artificially redirected flows from an adjacent watershed as a result of early development. This disproportionately increased conveyance exacerbates flooding in several locations including around Lloyd, Bill, Herbert, Blackwood, and Shirley Avenues. Runoff from roadways, eroded shoulders, degraded stream reaches, neighborhood and commercial properties carries nutrients and sediment to Lake Tahoe is not intercepted and treated, therefore restoration and enhancement of the Bijou Park Creek Watershed has long been considered an important aspect of the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (Project #01-01-01-0086).
From 2019 to 2020 Wildscape Engineering, Inc. led a team (Team) of consultants and nonprofits on engineering design and planning services for the second phase of a three phase effort by the City of South Lake Tahoe to address water quality and flooding issues in the Bijou Park Creek Watershed. The Team collected and analyzed field data and existing reports and conducted hydrologic and hydraulic analysis of the watershed to develop 30% Preliminary Designs and a Draft CEQA/NEPA/TRPA document. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of key agencies and landowners was formed and engaged throughout the design process and public outreach and scoping was conducted in support of the environmental document. A variety of improvements are proposed including localized sediment traps along the heavily sanded routes, a clean water bypass to improve treatment efficiency of an existing stormwater basin, construction of new and expanded stormwater basins and wetlands, flow redirection to alleviate flooding while maintaining base flows to support SEZ/riparian habitat, replacing and upgrading deteriorated stormwater infrastructure, and enhancing Bijou Park Creek to mitigate aggravated erosion and provide for increased overbank and deposition opportunities. The next phase will carry 30% preliminary designs forward to final construction documents and complete a final NEPA document working in close collaboration with the US Forest Service.