Groups look at monitoring Lake Tahoe’s shoreline | SierraSun.com
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Groups look at monitoring Lake Tahoe’s shoreline

Eric Heinz
eheinz@tahoedailytribune.com

A recent report is aiming to take care of Lake Tahoe’s near-shore waters.

The Lake Tahoe Nearshore Evaluation and Monitoring Framework was designed by the nonprofit organization Desert Research Institute, with University of Nevada, Reno, and University of California, Davis, researchers, in order to compile existing data and findings about the lake’s near-shore water quality.

Alan Heyvaert, principal investigator on the project, said research on effects on the near shore had lacked in the past, as most of the research had been done on the pelagic — or deeper middle — regions of the lake.



“This project focused on available data and analyzing that data to give us a perspective on how these metrics are now and compare them to how conditions were in the past 20 to 30 years,” Heyvaert said.

As part of the plan, recommendations were submitted to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency about how near-shore monitoring could progress in the future.



“The report also emphasizes that pollutants entering the lake from watershed or groundwater can be temporarily concentrated in the near shore, before eventually being mixed and diluted in the open water, resulting in biological responses not observed or recorded in Lake Tahoe’s deep water,” said John Reuter of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Heyvaert said there aren’t any implemented major plans at this time, but some data has been compiled by local organizations. Having a consistent annual or seasonal report will help monitor near-shore quality, he said.

Because the near-shore environment is more complex, it has been difficult to keep track of the health of the shore in a scientific method, especially when funding lacks, Heyvaert said.

“We don’t have a program in a very deliberate and structured way to monitor changes of when they occur and where,” he said, adding that future data-collecting methods must be administered in a cost-effective manner.

Within specific metrics, the project aims to present where improvements and water quality monitoring need to take place.

The report aims to study near-shore lake clarity, water nutrient values, amount of algae, community structure of organisms and macro invertebrates and how they interact, as well as conditions that are relevant to human health in terms of recreation.

“Once we know that data, we can take remedial actions to get the quality we want in the near shore,” he said.

The Lake Tahoe Nearshore Evaluation and Monitoring Framework project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, according to a news release.


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