Tahoe’s shoreline is where most people experience its stunning clarity, yet there are still no standards to protect it. Areas near the shore are experiencing rapid degradation in some areas yet deepwater clarity remains the focus of science and policy at the lake. League has been working to ensure Tahoe’s shoreline receives the scientific and policy attention it deserves. It now appears we’re finally being heard.
Scientists in late 2013 completed the first comprehensive report on nearshore conditions. The aim of the report was to inform the process of creating standards, or thresholds. Standards are the way to measure changes in the lake, positive or negative, caused by human impacts. They also help us gauge whether policies are working to protect a resource. For instance, deepwater clarity has shown its best improvement in 10 years, but nearshore clarity is getting worse, so we know that more needs to be done to combat pollution and tackle invasive species that are causing this degradation.
The issue is on the radar of the California Legislature, which has tasked the Lahontan Water Quality Control Board with creating a plan. We’ll be working with the water board and other agencies to ensure the standards are strong and result in policies that directly protect the shoreline.
We’ll also be advocating for a comprehensive program to monitor nearshore conditions, so that areas of high degradation can receive attention, or so that a threat to a scenically valuable area is spotted right away. Our Eyes on the Lake volunteer program is already an example of how to harness the power of citizen monitoring to protect the shore, but a broader program is direly needed.
Read more about our programs to protect Tahoe's shoreline beauty.