Clean Up the Lake launches Environmental Dive Center to protect Tahoe

Staff report
Lake Tahoe, long known for its famed clarity and brilliant blue waters has a dirty secret. Beneath the surface, thousands of pounds of trash are breaking apart and impacting the lake’s aquatic habitats.
Provided / Clean Up The Lake

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Clean Up the Lake, renowned for their successful 72-mile cleanup project around the shores of Lake Tahoe, has announced the inauguration of its Environmental Dive Center at Lake Tahoe.

The Environmental Dive Center will be a hybrid between a conservation dive school and an environmental science center, and will be located in Incline Village. The initiative marks a significant leap in the fight against all litter and aquatic invasive species in and around Lake Tahoe.

“Clean Up The Lake is striving to create a more sustainable future not only through cleanup efforts, but also through advocacy & preventative action and most importantly, a transformative educational program based at the environmental dive center” said Clean Up the Lake founder & CEO Colin West. “The center will be the first of its kind.” 

A grand opening date is set for Aug. 17, and will will include a classroom for all environmental dive courses that will double as a boardroom, a location for environmental film screenings, a space for litter categorization and data collection events, as well as more opportunities for internship programs and on-site visits for youth groups and classrooms.  

“We are taking innovative strides to offer visitors and locals alike a unique blend of environmental curriculum and traditional SCUBA certifications” said Director of Programs Sadye Easler.  

Aspiring divers not only receive world-class SCUBA instruction from Professional Association of Diving Instructors, but will also learn about environmental subjects ranging from submerged litter issues in freshwater and marine environments to aquatic invasive species and more.  Courses will also teach Clean Up the Lake’s submerged litter cleanup methods, aquatic invasive species survey techniques, and other important approaches the organization uses in their conservation dive programs.

The First Certified Students:  The Washoe Tribe of NV & CA
Clean Up the has already completed its first class, certifying students from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.  The goal of this class was to share with the tribe and their environmental department vital skill sets to safeguard their ancestral homeland and assist wherever possible in bolstering their own environmental programs.

Going forward, the Environmental Dive Center will serve as the epicenter for all Clean Up the Lake programs.  This ranges from lake remediation and cleanup projects in Lake Tahoe & nearby lakes as well as advocacy and litter prevention initiatives such as the second annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit.  The 2024 Litter Summit is happening in partnership with Lake Tahoe Community College.

“LTCC is committed to the goals of environmental sustainability and curbing climate change,” said President Jeff Defranco. “We are proud to partner with Clean Up the Lake to work collaboratively on solutions to the litter challenges facing the Tahoe Basin”.  

The second annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit will be in May. In the meantime two committees are in development to tackle issues that were addressed at the inaugural Litter Summit.  The 2024 Litter Summit will include an invite-only portion at the Thunderbird Lodge with community members & leaders in litter management, while South Lake Tahoe is also set to bring a public portion of the summit at a location to be announced soon.

The organization also announced a Tahoe Keepers sessions in partnership with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. This program will focus on the mitigation of aquatic invasive species in non-motorized vessels. Next year, the Environmental Dive Center will also integrate a nationally recognized scientific dive certification program.

A Global Perspective

The Environmental Dive Center is not only dedicated to training local volunteers and newcomers but also aspires to share knowledge and collaborate with organizations, nonprofits, and dive teams worldwide.  

By doing so, the nonprofit hopes to broaden its impact, allowing work done locally in the Tahoe basin to guide other groups on a global level. Recent work with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California represents a first step forward in working to share these skill sets to create a larger impact with other communities.Donations from Boatworks Mall at Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Community College, Tahoe Beach Club, and from  Pavel Pragin and Nila Ruslen, have spearheaded the Environmental Dive Center’s establishment. Donations will be matched up to $125,000. Visit or to donate. For those interested in a larger level of support, there are naming rights opportunities and founding partnerships available  The launch of the Environmental Dive Center would not be possible without the support of donors such as Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company, Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District, Tahoe Table Company, and Snowcap Architecture.
Doors open on Aug. 14, with a grand opening celebration on Aug. 17.

The Environmental Dive Center welcomes all enthusiasts, volunteers, interested divers, and partners during its open hours.

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