Community members test water quality around Lake Tahoe

Claire Cudahy
Community members are out collecting water samples from tributaries around the South Shore.
Courtesy / League to Save Lake Tahoe |

Today over a hundred community members are out collecting water samples from dozens of tributaries on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore as part of the 17th annual Truckee Tahoe Snapshot Day.

“The goal of the day is to get a snapshot in time of water quality within the Truckee River watershed, and so that includes all of the tributaries leading into the Truckee River,” said Savannah Rudroff, natural resources associate for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, which is organizing the South Shore monitoring site for the lakewide event. “Lake Tahoe is a sub-watershed of the Truckee River, and it’s a sub-watershed that is very beautiful and very significant to us.”

Team leaders are taking community members to tributaries on the South Shore to test water for temperature, pH, bacteria and other nutrients.

Water sampling is taking place on the North Shore and in Truckee and Reno today as well.

“This year will be interesting to see how water quality data from one of the biggest Tahoe winters on record compares with previous years’ data,” said Jesse Patterson, deputy director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “We are excited to see the community support this critical citizen science monitoring, the data from which helps inform efforts to protect Lake Tahoe.”

On the South Shore, Lahontan Water Board and South Tahoe Public Utilities District are helping with the analysis of the water.

“In some cases it’s alerted us to problem areas, and we’ve followed up with our own resources as part of our water quality mission with the water board,” said Bruce Warden, environmental scientist with Lahontan. “Getting the community involved in water quality issues is important. My daughters have been doing it since they were knee-high, and they look forward to it every year.”

Participants in the Snapshot Day are meeting at Lake Tahoe Community College on Saturday, May 20, at 9 a.m.

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