Clean Up the Lake finds ‘dirtiest mile’ yet in Fallen Leaf Lake |

Clean Up the Lake finds ‘dirtiest mile’ yet in Fallen Leaf Lake

Submitted to the Tribune
Divers removed 3,000 pounds of trash and 100 tires in just one mile of shoreline at Fallen Leaf Lake.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. Nonprofit Clean Up The Lake has launched an expansive underwater clean up in Fallen Leaf Lake revealing the Tahoe Basin’s dirtiest mile yet. In the history of this small but mighty and often overlooked lake, there has never been an underwater cleanup of this scale, said a news release.

Local canned cocktail company TIF’s Spiked Lemonade has kicked off the initial funding support followed by BlueZone Sports totaling the contributions towards the project to $15,000. In an effort to fully fund the project, CUTL is asking for community support to raise another $15,000 through a GoFundMe campaign. For each donation, TIF’s Spiked and BlueZone will match every dollar up to $15,000 with a total campaign goal of $30,000.

So, how dirty is dirty? Well, the CUTL dive team composed of volunteers and team members removed 3,000 pounds of trash and 100 tires in just one mile of shoreline.

With new data being gathered in Fallen Leaf Lake, the organization has had a chance to shine new light on how widespread this pollution issue is, and how remediation projects like this should hold a level of priority among environmental efforts in the regions surrounding polluted lakes in the Sierra, and across the country,” said Zac Smith, CUTL outreach coordinator in a press release.

Dive teams are circumnavigating, and removing underwater litter from the entire subsurface shoreline of Fallen Leaf Lake. During the circumnavigation, divers are also recording data on heavy lift litter, hot spots, and possible historical artifacts and implementing their new effort to monitor the presence of any and all invasive species and algal booms they come across. This is the initial stage of CUTL’s five stage remediation strategy. This approach is already in progress and is showcasing its effectiveness in Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake which are now in their monitoring stages. In total the organization has removed 46,434.5 pounds of trash from freshwater lakes.

CUTL’s large-scale scuba cleanups in freshwater lakes have proven to be an effective and a necessary way to combat the degrading plastics and litter that exists in so many freshwater systems. Decades of anthropogenic garbage have accumulated on the bottom of our local lakes; negatively impacting water quality, habitat, as well as recreational and aesthetic value. Through the removal of this litter, we hope to engage the community, improve the water quality, and spread awareness and education in the community.

The GoFundMe will help cover the costs of the circumnavigational scuba cleanup and remediation of Fallen Leaf Lake. Project Funding will cover project planning, implementation, and data analysis of our findings. Completion of this project will directly contribute to immeasurable human and environmental health benefits for future generations.

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