Lake Tahoe is one of the largest, deepest and clearest lakes in the world. But the water’s clarity is under attack. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that since 1968, the lake’s deep-water clarity has been reduced by approximately 30%, from 100 feet to 66 feet.
Scientists blame the change on algae fed by man-made pollution carried by storm runoff, as well as waste excreted by invading aquatic species (most notably Asian clams, which have blanketed much of the lake’s bottom).
I’ve had a love affair with Lake Tahoe since I was a kid. I can vividly recall looking upon the cobalt-blue lake as a child 50 years ago from ski runs on mountains ringing the deep water. Gazing upon the lake and the verdant pine forests that spread out from its shores and ascend mountain slopes to high granite walls, cascading rivers and snow-capped peaks is a memory that I hope to cherish until I die.
So it pains me to think of the toll pollution and invasive species are having on the beautiful and life-giving body of water. If Lake Tahoe is to remain healthy and lovely, it needs action from people who want to keep it that way. Which is why, on a recent visit to the lake from my home several hours’ drive away, I decided to become one of those people.
It was easy. I Googled "Save Lake Tahoe”—I’d seen bumper stickers stating just that—and discovered a nonprofit group that fights plans by greedy developers that would harm Tahoe. Now, when I think of the lake, it comforts me to know that I’ve taken action to protect her.