A recent report is aiming to take care of Lake Tahoe’s near shore waters.
The Lake Tahoe Nearshore Evaluation and Monitoring Framework was designed by the nonprofit organization Desert Research Institute, with University of Nevada, Reno and University of California, Davis researchers, in order to compile existing data and findings about the lake’s near shore water quality.
The report was completed to give local agencies guidelines on implementing new and more frequent projects monitoring the near shore of Lake Tahoe.
Alan Heyvaert, principal investigator on the project, said research on effects on the near shore had lacked in the past, as most of the research had been done on the pelagic, or deeper middle, regions of the lake.
“This project focused on available data and analyzing that data to give us a perspective on how these metrics are now and compare them to how conditions were in the past 20 to 30 years,” Heyvaert said.
As part of the plan, recommendations were submitted to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency about how near shore monitoring could progress in the future.
“The report also emphasizes that pollutants entering the lake from watershed or groundwater can be temporarily concentrated in the near shore, before eventually being mixed and diluted in the open water, resulting in biological responses not observed or recorded in Lake Tahoe’s deep water,” said John Reuter of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.
Heyvaert said there aren’t any implemented major plans at this time, but some data has been compiled by local organizations. Having a consistent annual or seasonal report will help monitor near shore quality, he said.
Because the near shore environment is more complex and variable, Heyvaert said, it has been difficult to keep track of the health of the shore in a scientific method, especially when funding lacks.
“We don’t have a program in a very deliberate and structured way to monitor changes of when they occur and where,” Heyvaert said, adding future data-collecting methods must be administered in a cost-effective manner.
Within specific metrics the project aims to present where improvements and water quality monitoring needs to take place.
“We sorted through those and made a matrix of 10 critical metrics,” Heyvaert said.
The report aims to study near shore lake clarity, water nutrient values, amount of algae, community structure of organisms and macro invertebrates and how they interact, as well as conditions that are relevant to human health in terms of recreation.
“Once we know that data, we can take remedial actions to get the quality we want in the near shore,” he said.
The Lake Tahoe Nearshore Evaluation and Monitoring Framework project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, according to a news release.