What really impacts clarity | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What really impacts clarity

I kept noticing an exposed part of the creek bed, free from the summers algae. It was in late August years past and I knew that their return had occurred. Each day I would stealthily approach the area watching the male and female German brown trout that had cleared that patch of sand as their breeding ground — our having been blessed by owning this piece of earth on both sides of the waters edge since 1970.

Then some days later I heard talking and went out to investigate its origin, and seeing my neighbor doing the same, questioning a young couple, clip board in hand, walking in the stream bed. While questioned, I learned that they were with some sort of Tahoe Conservation League and were documenting noticeable bank erosion. When they reached our yard I insisted they remove themselves from the water and explained that although their intentions were good they were about to destroy a delicate ecosystem that they were seeking to protect, as German Browns are a summer spawning fish.

Today it is Aug. 15 and I picked up a piece of trash, its origin being Keep Tahoe Blue. Upon it read, ”Lake Tahoe Losing a foot of clarity a year.” Having lived here since 1961, I would like to point out the amount of recent snow and the excessive amount of sand CalTrans dispensed upon U.S. 50 roads this year. I needed to remove my tail lights to get the sand out from between lights, the body is peppered with nicks and chips, and my newly installed windshield has a thousand stars when facing direct sun light.

We all put up with the clouds of granite dust (which at times contain radon and possibly asbestos) once U.S. 50 snow melts and it is never swept up fast enough for me. What I am trying to point out is the over use of sanding and the sand runoff’s effect on the lake and clarity.

Long-time residents don’t need sand, we use chains and know when to use them and how to drive in snow. That sanding is for tourists who can’t drive in snow and Tahoe’s clarity suffers. Those plumes of dust and melting snow are both finding their way into water and affecting clarity.

John Bryant

South Lake Tahoe, California

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