In hot water? Lake Tahoe sees decreased clarity, highest ever surface water temps in 2017

Our "Tahoe in the News" section includes newspaper articles about Tahoe environmental issues.

Sierra Sun | Justin Scacco | Aug 2, 2018


Photo: Sierra Sun | The decrease in clarity is being attributed to, according to a UC Davis report, a one-two punch of the end of a five-year drought followed by a winter of record-high precipitation. More sediment washed into the lake in 2017 than in the previous five years combined.


Shorter winters and rising temperatures have led to the highest surface water temperatures ever recorded at Lake Tahoe, while drought and one of the wettest winters on record have contributed to the worst clarity readings since regular measurements of the lake began in 1968.

Tahoe's record-breaking temperatures and lack of clarity were highlighted in the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center's annual State of the Lake report, published this month amid growing concern regarding Tahoe's famous clarity.

"We continue to find the 2017 clarity readings to be both alarming and yet not surprising," said Darcie Goodman Collins, Ph.D., chief executive officer for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. "Climate scientists have predicted that the conditions that prompted Tahoe's low clarity could well become the new normal. While we realize it's important to assess any one year in the context of longer-term trends, Lake Tahoe is too valuable to not take these findings seriously."

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