Lake Tahoe: Environmental Problems Shelly K. Bruce American Intercontinental University - Online

The mountain lake which usually runs a cold surface temperature of 40 to 50 F during the winter months. The water clarity has also been reduced more than 30ft since readings began in the late 1960s (USGS. Lake Problems One problem is developing in the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. erosion brought on by development. This clarity loss has been occurring at a rate of a foot per year. In an effort to protect the area from the effects of frequent vacationer activities. 2 . The algae in the lake are growing and the warmer environment is becoming more hospitable to invasive plants and fish. Researchers from TERC (Tahoe Environmental Research Center) say that the cause is from a combination of air pollution.Running head: LAKE TAHOE: ENVIRONMENTAL« Lake Tahoe: Environmental Problems Located at the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. lies the picturesque community surrounding Lake Tahoe. the area is carefully observed for signs of environmental stress from the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC). Even with constant care this picturesque community is showing signs of environmental stress in the lake and in the surrounding forest areas. 2008). The climate and water temperatures have been increasing since 1978 with the record set at 78 F in 2006. and over-fertilized lawns.) Adding to the growing algae problem is the invasive species of the Asian clam. and residents. (The nitrogen used in fertilizers accelerates the growth of algae. and warms to a cool 65 to 70 F during the summer months has been subject to a warming trend. nestled on the border of Nevada and California. The natural beauty of the area makes it one of the world¶s premier vacation areas for both summer and winter activities. The algae feed off these clams when they die. developers.

the Angora fire. and sewage discharge (Tahoe RCD. but also emission pollutions. It was suggested that in order to combat the problem of the growing algae. it burned out of control for a week due to high winds and unusually low humidity (Lagos. 2007. direct fuel injection (DFI) two-stroke engines have been banned from use on Lake Tahoe. started by an illegal campfire. 2011). On June 24. on Lake Tahoe¶s South Shore (Nevada side) burned 3. 2007. Since 2010 the program has been broadened to include not only a mandatory inspection for aquatic invasive species. To further protect against emission pollution from watercrafts. and the surrounding low lands. 2007). but so far there are no fines issued for over-fertilization run off (Associated Press 2010).100 acres and destroyed 256 homes. that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) should place strict regulations of the fertilizers used by landscapers and gardeners who care for the areas around the lake. unburned. into the air and water (Marion. The TRPA do have an ordinance that requires land owners to submit fertilizer management plans which are then monitored by the TRPA. are always prone to wild fires.Running head: LAKE TAHOE: ENVIRONMENTAL« In order to prevent any further invasive plant and animal infestations. The fire was finally contained on July 2. The forest areas around Lake Tahoe can also be subject to dry seasons and become just as prone to wild fires as the surrounding low lands. Forest Problems Nevada with its dry climate and desert type environment on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 2011). the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program has implemented a mandatory watercraft inspection. due to overfertilizing. Studies have shown that these type of engines discharge up to 20-30% of their fuel. 3 . noise.

the Lake Tahoe area is considered a national treasure and is carefully monitored by TERC and other agencies. Visitors to the area. 2010). One such solution would be to install a biomass plant to prevent further burning of waste wood and brush (Renda. and the studies done by TERC. One of the problems found when fighting the fire was that there were no defensible spaces. The removal of the abundance of cut brush and wood present another problem. 4 . other communities can use this information for their own areas. etc (Lynn. The new restrictions include: no open fires. no off-road use of internal combustion engines. by viewing the natural beauty that is being preserved. since the Angora fire. can appreciate the work that it takes to prevent overdevelopment and keeping a community clean. Defensible space refers to the areas around buildings or roads that are cleared of trees. It also provides an accessible area for fire trucks and equipment (PWHI. or other wild fire fuel to aid in slowing. in addition to the clearing of land due to the increase in land developing. chainsaws used only near Forest Service roads.Running head: LAKE TAHOE: ENVIRONMENTAL« Some of the newer restrictions. shrubs. have been introduced. Although. or weakening a wild fire. 2007). campfires are only allowed in developed campsites. By learning what problems can occur in such a pristine environment as Lake Tahoe. environmental problems still exist. Some opposition has been expressed as residents are concerned with further clearing of woods for fire prevention. 2011).

(2011).sfgate. Retrieved March 12. M. from http://www. The Complete Guide to Boating on Lake Tahoe. Sierra Sun.boattahoe. Forest service restrictions for back country travel at tahoe. Pacific West Home Inspections. (2011). July 2). March). Retrieved March 11. 2011. from http://www.htm PWHI.DTL#ixzz1GPfW9mlT Lynn.Running head: LAKE TAHOE: ENVIRONMENTAL« References Lagos. San Francisco Chronicle. Tahoe Resource Conservation District. from (2007). Retrieved March South Lake Tahoe fire fully contained. D.tahoercd. R.bchomeinspections.html 5 Marion. (2011.html Tahoe RCD. Lake Tahoe boating regulations. Retrieved March 12. (2007.php/boat . 2011. from http://www. Forest Fire Defensible Space. Watercraft inspections.

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