Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Is the Clearest It’s Been in 40 Years, But Why?

According to the Lake Tahoe Tourism Board, Lake Tahoe, a well-known tourist area on the border of California and Nevada, welcomes more than 15 million visitors each year. The lake, which is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, has lost some of its clarity in the last 50 years. Now that the water is some of the purest observed since the 1980s, it is dramatically improving.

The “Lake Tahoe Clarity Report 2022” from the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at UC Davis and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) includes the findings about water purity.
A 10-inch white disk known as a Secchi disk was lowered into the lake to test clarity by measuring the depth at which it vanished from vision. The average annual clarity of Lake Tahoe significantly improved between 2022 and 2021: it increased from 61 feet to 71.7 feet. According to the analysis, until 2023, the already-clear seas will get increasingly clearer.

Environmental experts anticipate that the lake’s clarity will continue to rise in the coming years. The objective is to restore clarity to 97.4 feet.

The natural zooplankton of the lake, whose population has recently increased, according to the research team, is what caused the alteration. By consuming minute particles that cloud the water, the microscopic animal keeps the lake pure. According to the scientists’ report, “they’ve provided a natural cleanup crew to help restore the lake’s famous blue waters.”
Following a population boom for its primary predator, the Mysis shrimp, zooplankton began to fall in the 1960s. The shrimp population “unexpectedly crashed” in 2021, the paper claims, which allowed zooplankton populations to soar. (If the crustaceans return, the lasting effect of the pure water will only be momentary.)

Pollution control is an additional component. Approximately 500,000 pounds of “fine sediment and other clarity-harming pollutants” are reportedly kept out of Lake Tahoe year by special efforts, according to the paper.

Julie Regan, executive director of TRPA, stated in a statement received by Travel + Leisure that “the lake’s resilience must continue to be supported by regional investments in water quality, forest health, and aquatic invasive species prevention and control.”

The lodging sector in Lake Tahoe has also taken action to support environmental causes and maintain the purity of the lake’s water through partnerships and programming.

For instance, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe has a number of initiatives to lessen the use of single-use plastics, and both hotel workers and visitors are welcome to participate in the twice-yearly “Keep Lake Tahoe Blue” clean-up event. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s Laurie Munos, the director of sales and marketing, told T+L that the hotel believes that these measures will have a long-term impact on protecting the environment and represent more responsible sustainable solutions.

Being a good steward of the environment is another priority for Edgewood Tahoe Resort. According to the hotel’s executive director of marketing and sales, Siobhan Fajayan, “we’re dedicated to keeping Lake Tahoe blue and beautiful. From removing 500,000 pounds of sediment from Lake Tahoe annually via enhanced wetlands and deepened filtration settling ponds to partnering with Clean Up the Lake (CUTL), a local nonprofit organization focusing on scuba dive, beach, and community clean-ups.

Source: Travel + Leisure

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