League to Save Lake Tahoe lays out 2021 plans

Justin Scacco
Sierra Sun

Following a year marked by COVID-19 and excessive use of outdoor areas by visitors and locals seeking escape from the pandemic, the League to Save Lake Tahoe issued its objectives for 2021.

Heading into the year the league has outlined a number of environmental issues facing the lake, identifying the need to advance restoration, combat pollution, and continue the ongoing battle against invasive species.

Advance restoration

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is part of the environmental conservation and restoration organization — the California Landscape Stewardship Network.

The organization brings together 29 groups from across California, representing federal, state, and local agencies, nonprofits, academic institutions, and private land managers in an effort to promote restoration projects on a landscape scale.

The California Landscape Stewardship Network is also involved in finding solutions to cutting “green tape,” which can hamper restoration projects with application, review, and permitting requirements.

“Our ‘Cutting Green Tape’ initiative aims to make it easier and more cost effective to deliver good projects that improve our environment,” said Wade Crowfoot, California secretary for natural resources. “Over the last year, the California Landscape Stewardship Network brought a broad range of groups and leaders together to advance this priority. I’m thankful for all of the creativity, collaboration, and hard work that went into this process and am proud that state agencies played a central role in these discussions.”

The stewardship network is also part of the Lake Tahoe West Restoration project, which is a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Forest Service — Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California Tahoe Conservancy, and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency that would restore forests, meadows, streams, and wildlife habitat across 59,000 acres along the West Shore. The project includes forest management and restoration activities that would reduce fine sediment pollution that gets flushed into the lake by rain and snowmelt.

Other projects the league looks to take on this year include restoration work at Meeks Bay and at the Upper Truckee Marsh.

Combat pollution

The League to Save Lake Tahoe will also continue its litter programs in 2021, including Tahoe Blue Crew, which supports community members in conducting cleanups around the lake.

Last year Tahoe Blue Crew grew from 18 volunteer crews to 90 in 2020, and removed more than 5,600 pounds of trash.

Along with other efforts like its cigarette disposal program and transportation options, the league recently worked with South Lake Tahoe to create a program which will offer $100,000 in reimbursements for restaurants to purchase to-go containers and other items necessary for takeout and delivery services.

This year league officials said they will look to develop virtual lesson plans and hands-on environmental learning to local and visiting students through its Keep Tahoe Blue Schools program.

Continue the fight

Tackling invasive species has long been a focus at Lake Tahoe, and in 2021 the league is looking to expand its Eyes on the Lake volunteer citizen science program. Through the program, volunteers help identify and report on aquatic invasive plants they find around the lake, such as Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed.

The league also has plans to install a second bubble curtain in the Tahoe Keys. The technology mimics the bubble nets humpback whales use to corral and catch prey. In the case of the Tahoe Keys, according to the league, the bubble wall blocks fragments from leaving the key’s lagoons by dislodging them from passing boats and corralling them to the edges of the channel.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication to the Tribune. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.