Image: Council members David Tirman and Anna Klovstad accepting the 2019 Beacon Award

Right now, California is grappling with the effects of climate change. Wildfires, droughts, coastal flooding, and snowpack loss threaten communities throughout the state, and local governments are tasked with the immense challenge of increasing resiliency in the face of these disasters.

The Beacon Program, sponsored by the Institute for Local Government (ILG) and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, provides a framework for local governments to prepare for, and reduce the impact of climate change by advancing community sustainability and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Truckee has participated in the Beacon Program for the past three years and has received valued support, resources, and technical assistance from ILG and its partners. For Truckee’s initial submission in 2018, the Town received one spotlight award, a Silver level in Sustainability Best Practices. Last year, Truckee received a Silver Level Beacon Award, representing an achievement in all five of ILG’s categories as well as individual spotlight awards in each. These included:

•     Silver Level Natural Gas Savings (6% savings)

•     Gold Level Sustainability Best Practices

•     Gold Level Agency Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reductions (12% reductions)

•     Gold Level Agency Energy Savings (13% savings)

•     Platinum Level Community GHG Reductions (33% reductions)

These awards documented tireless work by Town staff and Truckee Town Council to make sustainability a priority. That year, Truckee saw energy savings through municipal energy retrofits, increased procurement in renewable energy through close partnerships with the Truckee Donner Public Utility District, increased transportation accessibility, and forward-thinking streetscape projects that promoted pedestrian and bicycle access. The awards also served to provide the Town with a sustainability baseline on which future progress will continue to be built.

This year, Truckee was able to achieve a Platinum level award, advancing within the Sustainability Best Practices category. This achievement was possible with the development of a Climate Action Plan, Climate Adaptation Plan, by advancing zero waste programming, installing of EV chargers in downtown Truckee, and updating Truckee’s 2040 General Plan with focus on conservation, open space, and mixed-use development. A Platinum award represents the highest honor in a spotlight category, and is a testament to the intensive work undertaken over the past year by Town staff and Council to advance sustainability and prepare for climate change in Truckee.

By: Erin Ronald, Keep Truckee Green Intern