My Turn: An unbroken connection with Tahoe City | SierraSun.com
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My Turn: An unbroken connection with Tahoe City

Dr. S. Geoffrey Schladow and Dr. Charles R. Goldman

UC Davis has had an unbroken connection with Tahoe City since 1967, when our long-term monitoring of lake clarity commenced. During that time we have occupied a variety of premises, many of them made available through the generosity of community members. To name only a few, this included the Wallis and McClatchy families, and Joan Gibb at the Tahoe City Boatworks Marina where our research vessels the John Le Conte and Ted Frantz continue to be berthed. The results of our research and monitoring efforts have played a pivotal role in planning, conservation and management efforts in the basin and in the advancement of the scientific knowledge of Lake Tahoe and its watershed. Another important role has been the environmental education of countless numbers of schoolchildren as well as the general public.In May, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) will embark on the newest stage of this connection, with the historical renovation of our lab at the fish hatchery at Lake Forest. Originally built in the 1920s, the building ceased operations as a hatchery some years later because the spring water used to incubate the eggs was a bit too cold. Interestingly the hatchery had employed the likes of writer John Steinbeck, who produced his first novel there. UC Davis scientists first started working out of the hatchery in the early 1970s and it was officially transferred to UC Davis by the California Department of Fish and Game in 1996. The renovation will cost an estimated $3 million and has been funded by a combination of private donations and by UC Davis.When the renovation is completed, the building will be returned to its original appearance, with its river rock wainscoting and cedar siding fully restored. The boarded-up windows at the east and west ends of the hatchery will be replaced with new, operable, double-glazed windows. The building will be used as the base of our ongoing field operations at Lake Tahoe and other lakes and watersheds in the Sierra. It will continue to provide, as it has in the past, a facility at which scientists and students can design and assemble instrumentation that will be deployed in the lake and in the forest; a lab for the processing of time-critical water samples; and a base of operations close to our long-term monitoring sites on the west side of the lake. As such it provides the perfect complement to our newly constructed laboratory facilities at Incline Village.There is an additional dimension to the renovation of the hatchery that has recently been made possible. Through a Proposition 40 grant, the land surrounding the hatchery will become both a public interpretive center focused on wetlands and stream environments, as well as a fully instrumented research site to study the effectiveness of various land treatments for controlling highway runoff. With interpretive displays and a trained group of volunteer docents, the wetlands will serve as a community resource that UC Davis has not previously been able to offer the public. We will provide information about the project at public meetings in the spring.We at UC Davis are proud of the role that the university has played in the Tahoe Basin for almost half a century, and of the close ties that continue to exist with the Tahoe City community and the entire West Shore. We are committed to providing tangible and ongoing benefits that will have a positive lasting impact on future generations of residents and visitors alike.Dr. S. Geoffrey Schladow and Dr. Charles R. Goldman are with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.


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