Lake Tahoe, famous for its cobalt blue waters, received some alarming news this year.
Scientists with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center reported that Lake Tahoe’s clarity reached an all time low in 2017 — a discouraging 59.7 feet — surpassing the previous low of 64.1 feet recorded in 1997. In 2017, heavy rains flushed sediment that had been accumulating in our towns and streambeds during the previous five-year drought straight into the lake, clouding its waters.
These findings highlight the need to continue to aggressively reduce sediment reaching the lake by stopping it at the source and restoring our meadows and marshes that filter stormwater and capture sediment. These efforts are becoming increasingly urgent as Tahoe faces a rapidly warming climate that is predicted to result in more frequent conditions similar to those that caused this record low clarity.