TRPA monitors background noise levels in all Area Plans in the Tahoe Basin to ensure noise levels are not disturbing people and wildlife, and to maintain the unique characteristics of the Basin. Each Area Plan has its own allowable noise level in TRPA's thresholds, with maximum average 24-hour allowable noise levels ranging from 45 decibles (dB) in wilderness areas to 65 dB in industrial areas.

Program Overview
Noise - Area Plans
Noise

TRPA uses a Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) meaure to assess whether noise levels are being exceeded in Area Plans. The CNEL averages decible levels over a 24 hour period, with excess noise late at night and early in the morning being weighted greater due to humans and wildlife being more sensitive to noise at these times. Noise monitors are generally put out in Area Plans for 1-2 weeks during peak noise periods (generally summer). The highest 24-hour CNEL measured is used to assess noise levels. Construction noise or other unusual noise events are excluded from the data. Noise monitors are calibrated and tested to noise industry standards to ensure proper measurements. TRPA monitors 35 Area Plans per year, and re-visits each site once every 4 years (140 Area Plans monitored total). 

In general, the following CNEL noise levels are allowed in different land use categroies: 

  • Wilderness and roadless areas = 45 dB
  • Low density residential areas = 50 dB
  • Rural outdoor recreation areas = 50 dB
  • High density residential areas = 55 dB
  • Urban outdoor recreation areas = 55 dB
  • Commercial areas = 60 dB
  • Hotel / motel areas = 60 dB
  • Industrial areas = 65 dB

 

Monitoring Sites
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Images
TRPA leads the noise monitoring program. Noise monitors are put on property with permission from the California Tahoe Conservancy, California State Parks, Nevada State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, and private property owners.

Documents
TRPA Annual Monitoring Report 2017
5/10/2018
PDF
This report summarizes the monitoring conducted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) in 2017.

TRPA Noise Monitoring Plan
4/11/2018
PDF
This document describes protocols, measurement locations, and other technical information about TRPA's noise monitoring program.

No indicators associated with this monitoring program.

Monitoring Site List
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