Editorial: Tahoe by the book a must read | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Tahoe by the book a must read

It’s a 1,200-page book with few photos and lots of dry-sounding words – hardly fodder for the New York Times bestseller list.

But the recently released Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment should be a must read for all Tahoe residents. For the first time, all the scientific studies conducted on Lake Tahoe by the many universities and numerous scientists have been gathered together and analyzed intact.

The $1.4 million effort is truly remarkable. It marks the first time solid scientific evidence has backed up many of the assumptions surrounding lake clarity and the ecological condition of the Lake Tahoe basin.

This document will soon serve as the Bible for lakewide issues. It will be the document by which TRPA policy will be based. It will be used repeatedly to justify the $900 million sought in federal, state and local funds to clean up the lake.

While all that probably won’t boost sales for this tome at Sierra Books, it is important to realize the far-reaching impact of this document.

The good news, according the assessment, is the lake is still salvageable. Even at the loss of a foot of clarity a year, the process can be significantly slowed.

Stopping the increase of algae, the main curse of lake clarity, is possible, but very costly and complex. Almost half of all the nutrients that feed algae come from the air. Stopping that would mean stopping all the air pollution in the Bay Area.

But most of the rest of those nasty nutrients are the result of run-off, groundwater discharge or stream loading. And those are controllable, with focus, money and good science.

With the science in hand, will focus and money follow?

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