Thanks to a lawsuit brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, major landowners agreed to preserve most of the near-pristine Martis Valley while allowing appropriate development adjacent to already-developed areas. Located just outside of Lake Tahoe, Martis Valley provides a crucial habitat link between two federally designated wilderness areas and the Tahoe Basin and is a key gateway to Lake Tahoe. The legal settlements from the case subjected the new development to clear standards for resource protection and also provided for a stream of funding for habitat acquisition and workforce housing. This win-win outcome owes its success to two key CEQA provisions: thorough environmental assessment and robust public participation.