Protect Lake Tahoe from stormwater pollution. Join Pipe Keepers.
Pipe Keepers is the League’s citizen science program to address stormwater runoff into Lake Tahoe. Unchecked twentieth-century development paved over much of Tahoe’s marshes and wetlands, which had acted as natural pollution filters. Now, when rain hits our roads and parking lots, it washes off fine sediment, the number one threat to Lake clarity, and other pollutants into storm drains that lead to the Lake.
League experts train community members to assess and monitor the condition of stormwater infrastructure and collect stormwater samples for turbidity analysis during the first big storm of the year and large snowmelt events. Volunteer efforts help League staff locate and address pipes that are dumping high levels of sediment into Lake Tahoe. League staff then collaborate with agency partners to find solutions for the most-polluting pipes, so we can stop the pollution before it enters the Lake.
Can’t join us for a training? You can get started right away with this Pipe Keepers Training Guide. The guide walks you through how to survey a watershed and submit assessments of pipes and infrastructure through an online form.
What is fine sediment and why is it a problem?
Fine sediment particles are smaller than the width of a human hair and can remain suspended in Lake Tahoe for years, even decades, degrading its deepwater clarity. Sources of fine sediment include road traction abrasives (road sands) that are applied to our streets and highways in the winter; dirt and pollutants from streets, parking lots and neighborhoods; and even degradation of roads and other surfaces. All this material washes into storm drains during rain storms and snowmelt and pollutes the Lake.
|# of Watershed Watchers trained||152||6|
|# of Pipe Keepers trained||103||17|
|# of pipes monitored||49||16|
|# of samples analyzed||2,350||16|
Explore our pipes
Resources for Trained Pipe Keepers
A special thank you to Pipe Keepers founding partner, Friends of the West Shore, who provided base funding and technical assistance in the early years of the program.