Dredging at Keys proposed | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dredging at Keys proposed

Listen closely and you might hear the sound of someone sucking at Lake Tahoe with a straw.

The lake is 1.04 feet lower than it was this time last year, and less than half a foot above its natural rim, which sits at 6,223 feet.

Only a winter of heavy snow or rain will leave the basin with more water in the lake by next summer, but such a blustery forecast is not being predicted.

This summer, boaters squeaked by as their keels scraped bottom and they waited turns to get in an out of shallow marinas. Next summer, it may be a different story.

“We have had adequate water this summer for all but the largest of sailboats,” said Bob Broyer, general manager at Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association. “They just have had to be really careful where they go.”

Often larger boats waited for smaller ones to pass through a channel meant to accommodate two. Broyer said the association is applying for dredging permits and will hopefully have them this spring. The plan would be to scoop out the channels first, then go lagoon by lagoon.

Dredging this spring is a safer bet than the basin’s experiencing an extremely wet winter.

“Basically, it’s a flip of a coin,” said Gary Barbato, senior hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Reno. “We need way more than we had this year, and it’s looking like that’s not going to be the case.”

Forecasters are predicting January, March and April to be the wettest months, as they usually are.

“We’ll see what happens,” Barbato said. “If we don’t have decent precip by mid-March, you can forget it. We won’t have anything more to add much to the water supply.”

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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