Tahoe’s Environmental Goals & Protections
The League preserves, protects and restores Tahoe’s unique environment. Environmental policies and “thresholds” we shaped are helping get the job done.
One of the League’s early accomplishments was the creation of a unique bi-state regulator charged with protecting the Lake: the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, or TRPA.
A congressionally-approved agreement between the states of California and Nevada, called the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, required TRPA to create environmental goals and take the necessary action to achieve and maintain those goals. These standards are called “thresholds.” Read about each one below.
Air and water quality at Lake Tahoe are linked. One of the drivers of clarity loss in the Lake is the deposition of tiny particles from the air. Many factors contribute to airborne pollution, but the primary driver is private car use. The League pilots innovative solutions and advocates to add Lake-friendly transportation for healthier air and water.
Pollution – from nutrient loading and fine sediment particles – promote algae growth and cloud the Lake’s waters. After a significant loss in water transparency between 1968 and the 2000s, Tahoe's average clarity has been stable for two decades. The League's past work, and our three core campaigns today, aim to prevent clarity loss and Keep Tahoe Blue. It is the goal at the heart of our mission.
Naturally functioning wetlands, marshes and meadows, along with healthy soils, are Lake’s Tahoe’s natural water filtration system. Decades of past development damaged these systems, endangering Tahoe’s water clarity. The League advances ecosystem restoration to revitalize Tahoe’s natural pollution filters.
Wildlife and Fisheries
Tahoe is home to an impressive array of wildlife and a diversity of fisheries, including streams, rivers and lakes. Abundant fish and wildlife is a sign of a healthy ecosystem and the source of economic and recreational value for people. Reducing stressors on fauna - from noise, development and pollution - is an important part of Lake protection.
Vegetation and Forests
In the past 150 years, Tahoe’s forests were clear cut, then fire was aggressively suppressed. The legacy is densely packed, fuel-laden forests that are highly susceptible to wildfire. The League supports mechanical thinning, prescribed burning and fire preparedness measures to restore forest health, safeguard the community from fire, and make Tahoe resilient to climate change.
Scenery and Noise
Tahoe attracts 15 million visitors each year, drawn by the Lake’s natural beauty. Unwise development degrades the scenery and our enjoyment, as does noise from motorized vehicles. Limiting these impacts helps preserve what makes this place special. The League works with regulators like TRPA to limit scenic impacts from development and curtail noise.
Tahoe is here for all to enjoy, so long as each visitor helps protect this place. The League makes lake preservation accessible for all through our programs and events. We also advocate for policies, plans and infrastructure that support sustainable, low-impact recreation, so Tahoe can be enjoyed today and for generations to come.