LAKE TAHOE – Today, over 400 people volunteered along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe to protect this national treasure. As part of a lakewide cleanup organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe (Keep Tahoe Blue), participants removed 1,240 pounds of litter that would have harmed the Lake’s ecology.
“The fact that so many people devoted part of the long holiday to help Keep Tahoe Blue says a lot about their love for this place,” said Marilee Movius, the League’s community engagement manager. “We’re grateful to the hundreds of visitors and community members who gave their time to take care of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.”
Cleanup participants gathered at six beaches around Lake Tahoe, and together removed litter from ten miles of shoreline, including Commons Beach in Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Kiva Beach and Tallac Historic Site, Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove and Zephyr Shoals and Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe. Volunteers sorted and counted the items collected.
Once again, single-use plastics were the most commonly-found trash item, including 5,458 cigarette butts and 9,276 pieces of plastic, which includes cups, lids, bottle caps and straws. Most plastics do not biodegrade but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces that may release toxins or harm wildlife and remain in Lake Tahoe for 1000s of years.
“While it’s discouraging to see so much litter on the shoreline, the data our volunteers have gathered are helping to drive advocacy for solutions to the environmental challenges at Tahoe,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s chief strategy officer.
Earlier this summer, the League partnered with the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association to launch a cigarette disposal canister program lake-wide. 250 canisters adorned with creative educational messaging are being installed at “hotspot” locations around the Lake over the course of this summer. These “hotspots” were identified through the previous five years of beach cleanup data gathered by Keep Tahoe Blue volunteers who removed over 90,000 cigarette butts from Tahoe’s shoreline.
The League is grateful to our partnering land managers who do a great job maintaining these areas and need help during the high impact holidays. These include California Land Management, California State Parks, the City of South Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe City Public Utility District, and the United States Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Our cleanups are made possible by the support of our cleanup site sponsors, local Tahoe businesses: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar-California, Montbleu Resort and Casino, Zephyr Cove Resort, Trunk Show and RnR Vacation Rentals. Cleanup equipment donations from Clean Tahoe Program, Evolution Bags and South Tahoe Refuse.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known by the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue,” is Tahoe’s oldest and largest nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. The League is dedicated to community engagement and education, and collaborating to find solutions to Tahoe’s environmental challenges. The League’s main campaigns include combating pollution, promoting restoration, tackling invasive species and protecting Tahoe’s shoreline.