With a grant of $1,000 to $10,000 you can make a difference for Lake Tahoe. As of January 1, 2017, our current funding priorities are:
Combatting Pollution / Protecting the Shoreline
One of the League’s first successes after our founding in 1957 was to address the dumping of treated sewage into Lake Tahoe. Though sewage no longer threatens the Lake, pollution levels remain well above established environmental thresholds. Fine sediments from roads dump straight into the Lake through storm drains, threatening the Lake’s clarity. Excess nutrients from fertilizers and other household pollutants are also entering the Lake, leading to algal blooms and turning the Lake green. We are addressing these issues using a combined approach of community education, citizen science monitoring projects and advocacy.
Pipe KeepersPipe Keepers is the League’s citizen science program to address the threat of stormwater pollution entering Lake Tahoe. Urban runoff from rain storms and snowmelt is the largest source of pollution that degrades Lake clarity.
League scientists and engagement staff train community members to survey their local neighborhoods and collect stormwater samples during rain and snowmelt events. This information is used to help prioritize the most polluting pipes and find solutions so we can stop the pollution before it enters the Lake.
League experts analyze water samples to measure the turbidity (a measure of cloudiness) of the water, which we share with our agency partners to address “problem pipes.” Recent verification has confirmed that data collected by our volunteers is as accurate as that collected by automated samplers and trained scientists. Our efforts in growing our monitoring program are vital to reducing fine sediment and other pollutants running into the Lake. Your contribution will allow us to train and deploy additional Pipe Keepers to monitor more pipes and create a model that can be applied nationally.
While the League has historically focused on deep water lake clarity as an indicator of ecological health, we’re increasingly expanding our attention to the shoreline. The shallow, warm waters at Tahoe’s rim are disproportionately threatened by pollution and aquatic invasive species. Because the vast majority of people visiting Tahoe experience the Lake from its myriad public beaches, it’s critical that we maintain the health and pristine nature of these areas through stewardship activities and strategic political advocacy.
Beach CleanupsLake Tahoe’s beaches need attention throughout the summer season to keep them clean and healthy. Trash and debris that litters our beaches can harm wildlife, cause a human health hazard and degrade the Lake’s clarity. Volunteer cleanup events are an immediately impactful, widely-accessible stewardship activity and a cornerstone of the League’s community engagement program. Our annual beach cleanup events draw large crowds and significant media coverage, especially our lakewide Keep Tahoe Red, White and Blue events hosted on July Fifth. The Lake’s low water levels are already exposing a new stratum of trash (some of which is decades old) previously inaccessible for land-based removal efforts. With your help, we can capitalize upon low water levels by removing 4000 pounds of trash this year.
Tackling Invasive Species / Promoting Restoration
Aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed represent the single greatest current threat to the ecological health of Lake Tahoe. League staff work to ensure there are no new introductions of harmful species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, and to control current populations through early detection and rapid response.
Eyes on the Lake
The Eyes on the Lake volunteer program trains water recreationists to monitor for aquatic invasive species while they swim, paddle, fish, SCUBA, and hike around Lake Tahoe. This citizen science initiative fills a need for more comprehensive monitoring, while simultaneously educating locals and visitors to serve as environmental stewards of the Lake. Eyes on the Lake Volunteers complete simple surveys on the location and types of invasive species present in the Lake. League experts analyze this data and share it with agency partners to facilitate rapid response to new infestations and to identify high risk areas for potential invasions. Your support will enable us to train and supervise a greater number of Eyes on the Lake volunteers, maximizing our ability to monitor the spread of invasive species. We are also seeking funding to improve our digital data collection and mapping tools to streamline data collection.
Early logging practices (clearcutting) and inappropriate development have severely degraded Tahoe’s forests and waterways, causing erosion and sediment loading that can harm lake clarity. Reestablishing Tahoe’s diverse forest ecology requires that environmental restoration be prioritized in all planning, policy and project approval processes. League staff and volunteers advocate for activities that provide the greatest restoration of ecosystem functions and biodiversity, creating a resilient environment capable of adapting to a changing climate.
Tahoe Forest Stewardship DayEntering its 20th year, Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day brings over one hundred community volunteers — including many youth — out to local parks and wilderness areas in Tahoe to restore trails, install native plants and remove hazardous underbrush and invasive species. The event routinely draws media attention and a diverse group of committed community members dedicated to environmental conservation. Your support will enable us to continue hosting this impactful event and grow our volunteer force for on the ground restoration of Tahoe’s forests, streams and meadows.
Educating Young Stewards
Those lucky enough to spend time at Lake Tahoe as children establish a deep connection to the Lake that lasts a lifetime. As an organization dedicated to the long-term protection of this unique resource, we partner with local schools and community groups to teach youth about the ecology and history of Lake Tahoe and provide them with hands-on opportunities designed to foster a true stewardship ethic.
Blue Schools ProgramBlue Schools brings League staff to K-12 classrooms throughout the Tahoe Basin. Using custom Tahoe-specific curriculum that conforms to Common Core Standards, our staff assists teachers in using Lake Tahoe as a laboratory for place-based learning, often incorporating the methods and datasets from Eyes on the Lake and Pipe Keepers. This program reaches nearly 2,000 students every year. With your support, we can educate more students and create curriculum materials that can serve as a model for place-based learning around the country.
You Keep Tahoe Blue by supporting one of our many efforts to protect and preserve Lake Tahoe.
Call Erica Mirich to talk with her about these exciting grant opportunities: 530.539.4854.
To make a grant from your Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund, call Tracy Turner at 775.333.5499 or visit nevadafund.org.