Creeks flowing into lake raise concerns |

Creeks flowing into lake raise concerns

A study conducted this year by more than 300 volunteers has found water in the Lake Tahoe Basin relatively clean, but targeted a number of creeks as being problematic.

The volunteers learned the results of their water study at a thank-you dinner at Valhalla on Friday, where the participants were treated to lasagna by the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, which hosted the event.

About 100 of the 310 people who volunteered in May to test water that flows through 112 sites at the basin were at the dinner. Last year, 100 people sampled water at 44 locations.

The tests indicated water quality overall was good, but volunteers did find large amounts of algae along the banks of Bijou, Trout, Angora and Meeks creeks, and a Tahoe Keys lagoon.

Water with the most turbidity, or largest amount of suspended particles, at the basin was in: a tributary to Heavenly Creek, Heavenly, Bijou and Snow creeks (North Shore).

The cloudiest water came from Tahoe Keys Marina, clear to about 8 feet, and Spooner Lake, clear to about 10 feet.

Water at Fallen Leaf Lake stayed clear for about 54 feet, while a Secchi disc, a white plate used to measure clarity, could be seen 69 feet down in Lake Tahoe.

A large number of water quality specialists attended the dinner. One of them, Dominic Gregorio, of the state Water Resources Control Board, told volunteers the data they collected would be used by the board to set state standards for the amount of nutrients allowed in water.

Educating residents and others and getting them involved in environmental projects is essential to the health of the lake, said John Cobourn, a hydrologist at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and founder of the education coalition.

“It’s non-point source pollution — that means it comes from everybody,” Cobourn said. “That’s why we need everybody to be motivated. We want the lake to become everybody’s responsibility.”

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

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