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Scenic Quality Rating for Roadway Travel Units

Status and Trend

Interpretation and Commentary

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Status: At or Somewhat Better Than Target
Trend: Little or No Change
Confidence: High

  • Relevance - This indicator tracks changes in scenic quality of 208 specific scenic resources associated with roadway travel units. Tracking these changes is important because it provides a measure of how changes in land use and development over time affect these resources. Today, the scenic quality of roadway scenic resources is very nearly the same as it was in 1982. The trend has been for very little change in conditions since 1982.
  • Adopted Standards  - To secure threshold attainment, the composite score of each roadway scenic resources must meet or exceed the composite scenic score identified in TRPA (1982b).
  • Indicators - Scenic Quality Composite score, which is a unit-less, numerical rating consisting of the sum of the ratings given to four different visual characteristics.
  • Status – As of 2011, 205 of the 208 Roadway Scenic Resources (99 percent) meet the Threshold Standard.  The overall average of aggregated scores for Roadway Scenic Resources was = 2, resulting in a determination of “at or somewhat better than target”.
  • Trend – The overall average aggregation score for roadway scenic quality ratings was = 0, resulting in a determination of “little or no change.”

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  • Confidence
    • Status - A documented, reviewed, and accepted monitoring protocol was used to guide the collection, analysis, and reporting of the scenic monitoring data. It was collected according to procedures outlined in the 1982 Study Report for the Establishment of Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities (TRPA 1982b) and Status and Trend Monitoring Report (DRAFT) for Scenic Resources in the Lake Tahoe Basin (TRPA 2010), which set forth a methodology for measuring change in scenic quality over time. The methods are consistent with those employed by the U.S. Forest Service, and are considered standard practice. This equates to a “high” confidence determination for status.
    • Trends - Basin-wide monitoring of scenic quality ratings occurred in 1982, and as part of the 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011 Threshold Evaluations. Consequently, confidence in trend determination is “high.”
    •  Overall Confidence - Because there is high confidence in the determination of both status and trend, a “high” determination is assigned to the overall status and trend determination.
  • Human and Environmental Drivers - The primary drivers affecting scenic quality in the Lake Tahoe Basin are land use, land and resource management activities, and the visual/aesthetic characteristics of manmade development.
  • Monitoring Approach – Field surveys are conducted every five years by a team of qualified professionals (using established protocols), to examine and evaluate scenic quality of scenic resources along major roadways in the Basin, the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, and at public recreation sites and bike trails. Ratings from prior evaluations are reviewed. Updated ratings are assigned as warranted, based on current conditions.
  • Monitoring Partners – U.S. Forest Service and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency


  • Monitoring Plan
  • Conceptual Model


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Map showing the distribution of scenic quality rating Threshold Standard status for roadway travel units in the Lake Tahoe Region, 2011. (Source data: TRPA Scenic Threshold Monitoring Data).

Trend Charts

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Additional Info


Additional Information

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 11:52