Clean Up The Lake
Project Partners: Clean Up The Lake, Tahoe Blue Vodka, Vail Resorts & Epic Promise, Nevada Division of State Lands
Total Project Cost: $225,000
Funds Raised: $200,000+
We all know Lake Tahoe for its blue hues and unparalleled clarity, but what if we told you the lake has a dirty secret? After decades as one of the most popular recreation destinations in the country, a scary amount of trash was discovered under the surface.
The Tahoe Fund teamed up with Clean Up The Lake SCUBA dive team to embark on a year-long extraordinary effort to recover submerged litter around all 72-miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline. The effort launched in May 2021 and was completed in May 2022. In total, the dive team collected 24,797 pieces of litter from the lake, bringing the total weight removed to 25,281 pounds. The divers are now back in the lake, targeting litter hot spots in deeper waters.
As divers circumnavigated the lake shoreline, they recovered not only plastic bottles, cans and other “typical” litter, but items that included engagement rings, 1980’s Nikon film cameras, entire lamp-posts, “no littering” signs, massive pieces of broken down boats and engine blocks, lost wallets, cordless home telephones, a blackberry mobile phone, and more.
Thanks to an amazing partnership with Tahoe Blue Vodka, made with Tahoe’s crystal clear water, every dollar contributed to this project was matched by Tahoe Blue Vodka up to $100,000. Vail Resorts also generously donated $25,000 in support of this program as did more than 135 donors, helping us to exceed our goal of $200,000 for this project.
Following this unprecedented clean up effort, the Tahoe Fund with support from Tahoe Blue Vodka, commissioned artists to create a sculpture using some of the recovered items from the Lake. “Surfaced,” depicting a bald eagle and Lahontan cutthroat trout, will be made by internationally recognized artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova by Building 180. Once complete, it will become a permanent art installation at the new Tahoe South Events Center to educate visitors about what lies beneath Tahoe’s blue waters.
Thanks to all of this support, we can lead Lake Tahoe to a cleaner tomorrow, while educating everyone on the importance of environmental stewardship.