Last month, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center released the Tahoe: State of the Lake Report, which included their finding of an average of 59.7 feet depth of water clarity for 2017, the lowest since they began taking measurements. In advance of the 2018 Lake Tahoe Summit, the following is a statement by Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, chief executive officer for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, on the findings:
“The League to Save Lake Tahoe continues to find the 2017 clarity readings to be alarming. That said, the news wasn’t a surprise, as climate scientists have warned that the conditions that prompted Tahoe’s record low clarity could well become the new normal for the Sierra Nevada.
Of course, it’s important to assess any one year in the context of the longer trend, but Lake Tahoe is too valuable to not take these findings seriously. Decisions for the Lake’s future planning and environmental protection should follow a precautionary approach and consider that last year’s numbers may not be an outlier.
We need to start planning now to prepare Lake Tahoe for our changing climate. It’s critical that we accelerate the environmental restoration of the wetlands and meadows that act as natural pollution filters, making Lake Tahoe as resilient as possible for the challenges our warming climate will bring.
There are many ways for people who love Lake Tahoe to get involved:
- When traveling to Lake Tahoe, visitors can cut pollution that harms the Lake’s clarity by choosing to drive less, and instead go for a walk, ride a bicycle or take transit. (In the past year, the League has collaborated to bring bike share service and a microtransit pilot program to South Tahoe.)
- Community members can get engaged in citizen science efforts to combat stormwater pollution and tackle aquatic invasive species.
- Everyone who loves Lake Tahoe can use their voice to advocate for more environmental restoration by urging Congress to appropriate the funds authorized under the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. Californians can make a difference by voting yes on California’s Prop 3 on the November ballot, which will authorize additional state funding for restoration projects at Tahoe.
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. Learn more at keeptahoeblue.org.