Divers snag 250 pounds of underwater trash from Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Divers snag 250 pounds of underwater trash from Lake Tahoe

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

Debris from the bottom of Lake Tahoe picked up by divers.

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — By far the biggest item dredged up from the bottom of Lake Tahoe during an underwater clean-up on Saturday at Zephyr Cove Marina was a metal gangway that apparently fell off a boat.

The gangway was rusted and had some sharp bits, said organizer Steve Schultz, and was only 8 feet under water, where it could easily be hit by someone diving off a boat.

"It was big, heavy and sharp," Schultz said of the 150-pound gangway that was rusting away.

In addition to the gangway, there were bottles, cans, a tire and something resembling a bedpan.

On Saturday, 22 divers pulled 250 pounds of garbage from the lake's bottom.

Schultz, who is a diving instructor, said eight of the divers received their certification for safely removing debris.

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The dive was part of Project Aware's September Dive Against Debris. Also participating was Theresa Schultz, Emily Chandler, the Project AWARE Foundation and members of the High Desert Divers dive club.

"The purpose of a debris removal dive is to address the increasing problem that trash poses when entering our aquatic environments like Lake Tahoe," he said. "Marine debris in Lake Tahoe poses a threat to wildlife above and below the surface and can effect water quality and clarity."

Typically, Schultz holds his dives at Sand Harbor, but he said it had been pretty well cleared.

Coincidentally, the divers came across volunteers from Keep Tahoe Blue — the League to Save Lake Tahoe — who were also doing a beach clean-up.

"We had no idea they were doing a beach clean-up," he said. "Between the two environmental groups it turned out to be a fairly good-sized event. They were shocked at how much trash we managed to get out from the lake."

Schultz thanked the management of Zephyr Cove Resort for their support and allowing the divers to conduct debris removal.

"Scuba divers are uniquely positioned to can make every dive count toward protecting our ocean planet by removing debris whenever we find it underwater," he said.

Anyone who would like to support Schultz and Project AWARE Foundation may make tax detectable donations at http://myoceanchallenge.org/scuba-steve-schultz.