LAKE TAHOE, CA/NV (JULY 6, 2022) — Today, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center released findings from the annual Lake Tahoe Clarity Report, which showed average clarity, or how deep a 10” white plate can be lowered into Lake Tahoe before it becomes invisible from the surface, of 61 feet for 2021.
After decades of steady water clarity loss in the latter half of the 20th century, organized conservation efforts by the League and others helped stop the decline and stabilize Lake Tahoe’s world-famous clarity. Since 2000, multi-year average clarity measurements, which are more telling of Lake health than annual averages, have not declined, nor have they improved.
The following is a statement regarding the 2021 Lake Tahoe Clarity Report from League to Save Lake Tahoe CEO Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD:
“Each year, we learn more about Lake Tahoe, including if conservation actions are helping preserve and restore water clarity.
On the bright side, the 2021 Clarity Report shows that coordinated efforts to prevent pollution from entering Lake Tahoe, especially the smallest particles, are effective protections for Lake clarity and must continue. But the research also shows those protections are not enough to bring back water clarity that was lost between 1968 and 2000. Clearly, there’s more we must learn and do to keep – and bring back – Tahoe’s blue.
Tahoe’s water clarity is affected by what goes into the Lake, i.e. pollution, and what goes on in the Lake, biological interactions and physical processes. Climate change is having a serious impact on the system, as well. We must devote money, time and expertise to better understand the food web interactions and physical processes – such as surface warming driven by the climate crisis – going on in Lake Tahoe.
Science, funding and implementation of conservation policies are crucial to protect Tahoe and bring its clarity back. But more is needed and can be done today – right now – to restore our Jewel of the Sierra. Everyone who loves this place can take action to protect its water clarity and quality.
– Tackle Invasive Species: We know full well that aquatic invasive species are disrupting Tahoe’s fragile ecology and can have a cascading impact on water quality. Anyone can help control the spread of invasive species by becoming citizen scientists through the League’s Eyes on the Lake program (keeptahoeblue.org/eol) and by using the Citizen Science Tahoe app (citizensciencetahoe.org).
– Advance Restoration: Restoring Tahoe’s natural filtration system – its meadows, marshes and wetlands – strengthens the Lake’s ability to keep pollutants out of the water. You can volunteer for the League’s Tahoe Forest Stewardship Days events (keeptahoeblue.org/tfsd) and revitalize the ecosystem, so it can withstand environmental shocks like drought and wildfire.
There’s always more to do to protect and preserve Big Blue. We can overcome these challenges. Together, we will Keep Tahoe Blue.”
League to Save Lake Tahoe – Chris Joseph, 530.208.5661
The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known by its iconic slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue,” is Tahoe’s oldest, largest and most successful nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. Our team of solutions-oriented Tahoe advocates use innovation, boots-on-the-ground action, and a holistic approach to solve the environmental challenges threatening the lake we love. In our 65th year, we continue pushing to Keep Tahoe Blue in an ever-changing world. Learn more at keeptahoeblue.org.