Businesses, residents support Tahoe underwater cleanup, meet $100,000 match


The Tahoe Fund announced Tuesday that Tahoe Blue Vodka’s $100,000 match has been met, allowing the nonprofit Clean Up The Lake to begin its massive effort to remove trash around all 72-miles of Lake Tahoe this spring.

Support to meet the match was overwhelming, with more than 135 businesses and people donating to the cause, including $25,000 from Vail Resorts.

Beneath the surface of Lake Tahoe, long known for its famed clarity and brilliant blue waters, thousands of pounds of trash are breaking apart and impacting the lake’s aquatic habitats.

A scuba dive team of professionals and volunteers, spearheaded by Clean Up The Lake, now has the support it needs to begin an extraordinary effort to recover trash that has been accumulating untouched under the surface of the lake for decades.

Last summer, the first phase of the effort resulted in the recovery of over 2,200 pounds of trash from just six miles of Lake Tahoe, and solidified interest in the expansion of the project to include the entire circumference of the lake.

Led by Colin West, Clean Up The Lake founder and executive director, the team of divers will begin the project in May and expect to have the cleanup completed by the end of October 2021.

“I am humbled and grateful to those who value this project and the effort to clean up the lake,” said West in the press release. “The support the Tahoe Fund was able to generate from organizations like Tahoe Blue Vodka and Vail Resorts, as well as from individual donors, has been tremendous. We can’t wait to get started.”

Tahoe Blue Vodka’s award-winning spirit is made from the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, so stepping up to support this effort was an easy decision for founder and CEO Matt Levitt.

“Since I started Tahoe Blue Vodka, our mission has always been to give back to organizations and efforts that work to protect Lake Tahoe,” said Levitt in the release. “It’s incredible to see the passion that people have for protecting the lake’s clarity and how matching donations like this one can inspire people to give back and make a difference.”

“We are in awe of how quickly the community stepped up to ensure this project met its funding goal so that it can move forward. We are so thankful to Tahoe Blue Vodka for their inspiring matching donation,” said Paul Felton, Tahoe Fund board member. “The passion for Lake Tahoe is undeniable, and we look forward to the kick-off of this massive cleanup effort in the spring.”

Learn more about the project and how to volunteer on dives at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.