The ongoing fight to save Lake Tahoe

“Crow’s Landing” a silk painting by artist Louise Noel, one of the artists on the Kings Beach Art Tour on Aug. 5 and 6. Noel will be on Trout Avenue with other artists during the Art Tour. Read more in our feature on the Art Tour in this edition and at TheTahoeWeekly.com/art-culture.

The ongoing fight to save Lake Tahoe
Famed for its crystal clear waters, Lake Tahoe draws each of us to enjoy its unique beauty. But that beauty is always in peril – from invasive aquatic species to microplastics (much of which comes from trash left on beaches that break down over time) to pollution and a myriad of other issues. Researchers with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) have worked diligently for decades to understand the threats to Lake Tahoe and to find solutions (like the innovative approach to use the invasive mysis shrimp for dog treats).

TERC released its 2023 State of the Lake in late July, detailing the rapid jump in lake clarity that occurred in 2022, with the lake’s clarity reaching 71.7 feet compared to 61 feet in 2021. The decline of the mysis shrimp and subsequent reemergence of our friends, the daphnia zooplankton, are credited with that rise in clarity (read an overview of the State of Lake in this edition). Although researchers say the mysis will rise again; their eggs can lay dormant for 100 years until conditions are right for them to hatch.

I learned this alarming fact after reading Kayla Anderson’s feature “Tahoe’s guardians: Researchers’ work to protect Lake Tahoe’s clarity” in this edition. Kayla spent the day on TERC’s science vessel with researchers measuring lake clarity, monitoring pollution and performing other studies on the lake. This is just one of many projects that TERC researchers work on day after day (even during the winter months) to protect Big Blue from its many threats.

You can protect Big Blue
There are many easy, simple things everyone can do – even kids – to help protect Lake Tahoe. Pack out all trash (if there’s not a trash receptacle, take it with you). Pick up dog poop (the EPA classifies it as toxic as pesticides). Report invasive species, algae blooms and trash at tahoe.ucdavis.edu/citizen-science. Download the Tahoe Tessie AR gaming app for grades 3 to 5 and play games while learning about the science of Lake Tahoe. Make a donation to fund TERC research projects at give.ucdavis.edu/TERC. Visit the Tahoe Science Center in Incline Village, Nev., to learn more about TERC and its research projects. The center is fun for all ages. | tahoe.ucdavis.edu/tahoesciencecenter