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Threats to Tahoe

Content compliments of Tom Martens.

BASS IN TAHOE – Large mouth bass, one of the growing number of non-native fish species, are now becoming common in the lake, particularly along the south shore. The bass like this one at Camp Richardson are thought to have been illegally introduced at the Tahoe Keys. Photo courtesy of Tahoe Divers Conservancy.


TRUCKEE RIVER ALGAE – Algae is growing in the lower reaches of the Upper Truckee River. The algae growth is fed by nutrients from an unstable watershed and fertilizer used on a golf course and on home lawns. Photo by Tom Martens.


ERODIBLE WATERSHEDS – Tahoe’s loss of water clarity is partially caused by the flow of fine sediments into the lake from erodible watersheds. This unusual major rain-over-snow flow event in December 2005 may become more common as global warming increases. Photo courtesy of California Tahoe Conservancy.


ERODIBLE STREAMS – This photo shows a bank of the Upper Truckee River denuded of vegetation and a major source of fine sediments into the the lake during the winter and spring flows. Such unstable banks are common on Tahoe’s many streaams. Photo by Tom Martens.


FORESTRY PROBLEMS – Fires have always been a part of the Tahoe landscape, but recently have been more severe, damaging homes and critical watersheds.  Following these fires, restoration must occur immediately to prevent permanent damage to watersheds.  This photo shows the forest after a fire at South Lake Tahoe. Photo by Tom Martens.


INVASIVE PLANTS – This photo provided by the Tahoe Divers Conservancy shows invasive plants that are now growing in Lake Tahoe, including in Emerald Bay where the photo was taken. These invasive plants are common along the south shore of the lake, but can also be seen on the north and east shores.


RECREATION INFRASTRUCTURE – Increasingly, human powered boats are used at Tahoe during the summer. Tahoe needs to improve the capacity for use of these environmentally friendly forms of recreation without damaging watersheds. Photo by Tom Martens.


ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION – Despite many years of discussion and planning, the awareness of Tahoe’s problems and solutions to them is relatively low among key stakeholders, decision makers and the public. Awareness needs to be increased, so that funds will be approved.  Photo by Tom Martens.


WILDLIFE HABITAT – Lost wildlife habitat, particularly for waterfowl, has forced many species to disappear or leave the Lake Tahoe Basin. The loss upsets the ecological balance, and  also removes a recreational asset for wildlife enthusiasts. Photo by Tom Martens.


INVASIVE AQUATICS – Invasive aquatic species, such as these crawdads, are now common throughout the lake. These species compete for food for other fish, which often causes fish populations to decline or disappear altogether.  Other invasive species include Quagga mussels and Asian clams. Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Divers Conservancy.