Stewardship Day gives back to lake |

Stewardship Day gives back to lake

Erosion and dead wood were on the minds of 250 people who volunteered Sunday to help the League to Save Lake Tahoe improve the environment.

Erosion is slowly making the lake’s clear water cloudy. The accumulation of dead wood is increasing the fire danger at the basin.

To combat these problems the league organized its third annual Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 80 people showed up at the end of Columbine Trail to battle erosion on the banks of Trout Creek which empties into the lake.

Across town, 170 people volunteered to clear wood and plant trees in a forested area near Pioneer Trail and Elks Club Drive. The forest work involved clearing out dead branches and small trees with handsaws and planting 60 Jeffrey pines, the type of tree that once dominated the area that’s now 80 percent Lodgepole pine.

At the creek, volunteers constructed a bridge to preserve its banks, planted willow stems in the creek beds in hopes they take root and create stability in the soil, and visited education stations to learn what they can do to protect the environment.

Both children and adults came out to work Sunday. They were treated to a T-shirt, a raffle and a barbecue for helping out.

“It’s fun helping the wilderness,” said Corissa Heath, an 11-year-old who moved to the Lake Tahoe Basin three months ago. “It’s pretty cold up here compared to Paradise (Calif.) and there’s a lot more trees.”

Members of the U. S. Forest Service, the Washoe Tribe and the University of California Cooperative Extension and other environmental experts came to educate and guide the volunteers.

John Cobourn, a water resource specialist who works as an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, supervised the building of the bridge. He said mountain bikers and hikers have destroyed many of the plants in the area which in turn reduces the creek’s ability to filter sediment from the creek water before it flows into the lake.

“I’m interested in all the different ways to protect water quality at Lake Tahoe, and this is one of them,” Cobourn said. “The creek is a combination of water, soil and plants. We need to have the stream environment zone function as naturally as possible. We’re trying to protect the natural shape and condition of the creek.”

Cobourn said everyone living around the lake needs to take action to prevent sediment from entering the lake. He said landscaping a yard properly is the best way to keep sediment from reaching the lake.

To find out more about what to do at home to keep the lake healthy, the league has compiled the “Home Landscaping Guide for Lake Tahoe and Vicinity.” It costs $4 for members of the league, and $9.95 for others. For information call (530) 541-5388.

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