Traffic, development and setting a high bar to protect Lake Tahoe

May 10, 2016:
Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD
Sierra Sun

Along with the long-hoped-for snow, last winter saw weekend after weekend of impressive traffic problems. For the sake of the economy, we all welcome the region’s visitors, but excessive traffic doesn’t just lower the quality of life for residents and sour the experience for our visitors. Increased auto traffic also causes harm to Lake Tahoe’s clarity.

Recent science shows that fine sediment pollution — largely caused by cars crushing the road sands used to make winter driving safer — is responsible for the majority of the Lake’s clarity loss.

Tailpipe emissions and dust kicked up by traffic are a significant source of nitrogen, which contributes to algal blooms. It would be very challenging to Keep Tahoe Blue in a future scenario where last winter’s traffic becomes the new normal.

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Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, is the executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe. The League — also known by the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue” — is Tahoe’s oldest and largest nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, founded in 1957.
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