Letter to the Editor: Policy sans science is like acting without thinking
Regarding the and#8220;Near and unclearand#8221; story from last week: Claire Fortier expresses exasperation with the decline in the near shore environmental quality, but her framing of the issue doesnand#8217;t make sense.
Thereand#8217;s no conflicting choice required between the near shore and the deep water. Tahoe is one lake with water that mixes vertically and horizontally. What affects the shallow near shore environment eventually affects the deep middle. Actions taken to improve deep water clarity will benefit the near shore.
Deep water clarity is an integrative measure of overall watershed health. The lake is studied as a system. The near shore environment is the least understood part of that system, not because of neglect but because of local complexities. Research can result in a better understanding of those complexities, leading to localized solutions for the near shore.
Claire Fortier seems to think that certain actions can be taken immediately without waiting for science to examine the probable effectiveness and possible complications of those actions. That same mistake was made when the Tahoe Keys was dredged out of a wetland, and when the mysis shrimp was introduced to feed game fish. Impetuous action that disregards the need for prudence is a recipe for blunder.
Scientific perspective saved the lake from one of those blunders when Dr. Charles Goldman demonstrated how the planned tertiary sewage treatment in the 1960s would have turned the lake green in a very short time.
Claire Fortier seems to feel that the connection between TMDL implementation and near shore clarity improvement has not been proven, and yet she advocates action with an assumed result that has not been proven.
What has been proven is that policy without science is like acting without thinking about the consequences. Is that what Claire Fortier is advocating for Lake Tahoe?
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