Wet winter may not be good news for lake clarity, scientists say | TahoeDailyTribune.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Wet winter may not be good news for lake clarity, scientists say

Amanda Fehd

One thing bad storms bring to Tahoe is soil erosion. And that’s a dirty word here because it means the lake won’t be so blue for a little while.

It may take a little more than a year to know the overall impacts to Lake Tahoe’s clarity from the series of New Year’s storms that pummeled the region with 11 inches of rain. Many believe it won’t be good.

“Almost certainly it will have a negative impact, (but) it’s going to be hard to tell how much of an impact,” said Michael Hogan, a soil scientist with Integrated Environmental Restoration. His firm focuses on restoring areas with disturbed soils, like ski resorts and road cuts, in order to prevent future erosion.

Yearly weather patterns have always had an affect on lake clarity. Rain and snowmelt can cause soil erosion, but it also washes pollution out of the air and into the lake, a process scientists call “atmospheric deposition.”

“When it rains, more particulates are getting washed from the air,” said Geoff Schladow, a scientist with UC Davis who measures the lake’s clarity throughout the year. “In the past, the effect of wet winters has been to decrease the clarity.”

Much of the $600 million spent so far on environmental improvements in the Lake Tahoe Basin have gone to erosion control projects along roads and public lands.


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.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User