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Forest Service looks for public input on Incline Lake project

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. -- Between the Mt. Rose summit and North Lake Tahoe lays an empty pit that has sat empty for almost six years. Now you can help revive the land.

Row boats, fishing and a small community once surrounded Incline Lake before engineers labeled its dam as a high hazard to Incline Village homes, schools and businesses below.

U.S. Forest Service Forest Engineer Mike Gabor said the lake sits above the incline fault, and the pit is formed because of the seismic area. He said if an earthquake hits, the ground can move 30 feet in an instant.

Private owners drained the lake before selling the land to the Forest Service in 2008 for an estimated $43 million. "The intent was to purchase the land for bringing more land into Tahoe basin into public ownership for the enjoyment of the public to go out and recreate and for conservation resources," said Gabor.

The time to act on this intent is now. The proposed action is to remove the lakes faulty dam and build up the existing meadowlands for $1.5 million. The alternative plan costs up to $8 dollars and will retrofit the dam while filling the empty lake again.

To survive an earthquake, a thick plastic liner under the lake and dam would hold water and avoid runoff into the soil and earth below. "The liner would essentially prevent water from coming through the dam," said Gabor. There would be some additional rock put on the face to stabilize the mass of the structure itself."

The Forest Service wants to know your thoughts on the project. Public input must be received by June 6, and the U.S. Forest Service welcomes any and all other ideas to bring the land back to life.