30 Year History
RCI has been working with Heavenly Mountain Resort for over 30 years and has completed numerous projects for the resort including water and sanitary sewer system improvements, stream restoration, mountain bike and hiking trails, water quality improvements, and site civil improvements for various on-mountain activities in both California and Nevada.
Epic Discovery Projects
RCI provided conceptual civil engineering and site restoration plans for the permitting of the proposed Epic Discovery Projects. Upon Forest Service and TRPA approval, RCI prepared construction level plans and completed the topographic survey for the Alpine Coaster Forest Flyer Project, one of the first major components of the Epic Discovery Projects to be constructed. This project site is at an elevation in excess of 9,200 feet with steep, forested terrain.
Environmental Documentation for Master Plan
RCI worked with Heavenly and the other design consultants to prepare the conceptual plans used in the environmental document for the Master Plan update for over 16 proposed on-mountain activities. RCI also prepared supporting documentation for use by Heavenly’s environmental consultant including coverage, temporary and permanent erosion control measures, site revegetation and construction staging and access.
In conjunction with our site civil design work for Heavenly Mountain Resort, RCI’s survey team has provided survey support services for the design and construction of the initial Epic Discovery projects. Included in the survey work completed by RCI were locating individual trees, topography, preliminary alignment of proposed improvements, construction staking and as-built surveys.
Civil Design – Mountain Bike Trails
The site civil plans typically included grading and drainage designs for proposed structures, pedestrian pathways (both ADA and non-ADA), utilities, construction access, temporary and permanent erosion control measures, and site revegetation plans. Included are over 13 miles of new mountain bike trails, and over 6 miles of new public and maintenance hiking trails. Mountain bike trail design was based on design standards from the International Mountain Bike Association and hiking trail design was based on the U.S. Forest Service Customary Specification for Construction and Maintenance of Trails, Pacific Northwest Region.
Water Quality Improvement & Best Management Practices
Heavenly Mountain Resort operates under a Special Use Permit on National Forest lands within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Since the late 1980s, RCI has worked for the Heavenly Mountain Resort providing a variety of professional engineering and natural resource services on an on-call basis to facilitate an adaptive management approach to resort operations and regulatory requirements.
A staff Registered Professional Forester (CA) from RCI conducted tree counts in old-growth Whitebark pine stands in order to establish the number of trees to be affected by grading and drainage improvements on selected low-volume roads and ski trails at the resort. In addition, the RPF at RCI prepared preliminary timber harvest plans for the Environmental Impact Statement of the Heavenly Mountain Resort Master Plan Amendment.
Stream Environment Zone (SEZ) Mitigation Projects
RCI designed the restoration of a highly-disturbed stream environment zone at the Upper Shops. The sediment-laden ephemeral stream was modified to remove excessive sediment loads by providing sinuosity and ponding areas, then revegetated with native vegetation. As a part of this work BMPs were installed for the roads and the yard area at the site. Runoff was separated from developed areas and treatment systems were installed to clarify stormwater runoff prior to discharge to the SEZ.
Galaxy Flat Wetland Construction Project
RCI designed the Galaxy Flat Wetland Construction project, in which Heavenly created an entirely new seven-acre wetland habitat near East Peak Lake. The first high-altitude wetland ever created (at 8,500 feet), the new meadow has increased wildlife diversity and provided a natural filtration system for snow run-off. Heavenly received the 1995 Silver Eagle Award in Environmental Excellence for this project.
Erosion Control BMPs
RCI designed site-specific BMP treatments for erosion control at the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Our work included revegetation and slope stabilization specifications, road drainage improvements, designs for ditches and temporary sediment basins. RCI also provided installation supervision and biweekly inspections of temporary construction BMPs.
Monitoring for BMP Implementation and Effectiveness
RCI updated and implemented a US Forest Service-designed BMP monitoring plan to dovetail with the Region 5 BMP Evaluation Program and the USFS Roads Monitoring Protocol for the Lake Tahoe Basin. This monitoring program is based on an adaptive management approach that allows for monitoring, followed by a reporting of the monitoring results, development of recommendations from the monitoring results, and implementation of approved recommendations for continued monitoring. Compliance with this plan is a key component in satisfying the Master Plan Amendment requirement for monitoring and mitigation.
Parking Lot Stormwater BMP Design
The Boulder Lodge has approximately 10 acres of paved parking partially in SEZ. Edgewood Creek flows beneath the parking area in a large culvert. The project was constructed in 2003 through 2005 as a three-year phased project. RCI design features included:
- Designing special snow storage areas with equipment access ramps for annual maintenance.
- Modifying existing storm drain systems to intercept and route only the parking lot runoff to a new 50,000-gallon pretreatment vault prior to discharge to Edgewood Creek.
- Construction of new bypass storm drain and channel to route Tahoe Village runoff through the parking lot rather than into the parking lot storm water collection system.
- Minor reshaping of the parking lot paving to ensure routing of parking lot runoff to new drop inlets.
- Minor modifications to existing utilities related to installation of new storm drains.
- Construction of a new dumpster enclosure with a direct connection to the sewer system.
California Main Lodge – 14 acres of paved parking
The California Main Lodge has approximately 14 acres of paved parking partially in SEZ. The existing storm drain system treated runoff with 4,000 to 20,000 gallon sedimentation vaults installed in 1989 and restoration of SEZ in the Bijou Creek watershed. Construction of Phase I has recently been completed (October 2006). Phase II construction is scheduled for Fall 2007. Features of the ongoing BMP retrofit project include:
- Rerouting the collection system to separate parking lot runoff and upgradient clear water flows.
- Parking lot runoff that receives pre-treatment in existing sediment vaults will be routed to a series of new treatment units using cartridge technology for nutrient removal.
- Enhancement of the snow storage areas to reduce sediment transport and improve snowmelt water quality.
- Installation of automated sampling for the completed system.
RCI continues to assist Heavenly Mountain Resort with project related permit applications and supporting information for multiple agencies including: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lahontan Regional Quality Control Board, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, City of South Lake Tahoe, as well as El Dorado and Douglas Counties.