Lake Tahoe’s clarity as measured by a Secchi Disk improved last year by 10.5 feet from the clarity levels of 2017, meaning scientists can now view a total of 70.9 feet down with the instrument, according to a new study released by UC Davis on March 23.
“We are encouraged that average clarity has improved, and plan to use this momentum to expedite our efforts to protect Lake Tahoe by restoring wetland and forest habitat, and finding innovative solutions to our transportation challenges,” said Jesse Patterson, chief strategy officer at the League to Save Lake Tahoe in a statement provided by communications director Joanna McWilliams.
“The best news is that everyone can help. Come out to one of our volunteer restoration events or hop on a scooter instead of driving a car. Each of those small actions will make collective difference to our emerald-blue lake,” Patterson said.
One new way that concerned locals and visitors alike can help improve Tahoe’s clarity is to take a page out of Abby Mooers’ book and get involved in ecological science projects, with the aid of a new app that UC Davis researchers designed as part of a science-based coalition.
A more user-friendly version of the Citizen Science Tahoe app was developed by Joinify Visitor Guides and allows users to report on Tahoe water quality, trash, algae, and stormwater pollution. The first iteration of this free public app was created by UC Davis in 2016. Aspiring community scientists can access a database of Tahoe clarity statistics, and aid conservation efforts by adding new data.
“Science is something that everyone can be a part of,” said Zack Bradford, Natural Resource manager at the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “Download the app within minutes to become part of a network of citizens working together to collect data and report significant findings that help us better understand and protect Lake Tahoe.”
Citizen Science Tahoe can be accessed on Google Play and the Apple App Store and can be found at citizensciencetahoe.org.