INCLINE VILLAGE – A public-private partnership is being praised this week after it resulted in the removal of nearly 13,000 pounds of litter from the waters just off Lake Tahoe’s Nevada shoreline over the past two years. The effort is slated to wrap up later this month with litter removal from the remaining eight miles of California nearshore.
The clean-ups are conducted using SCUBA divers and boats.
The project was spearheaded by Clean Up The Lake, a nonprofit supported by donations and grants from Nevada Division of State Lands, Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Blue Vodka, along with dozens of other nonprofits and businesses. The organization is focused on reducing pollution from plastics and other sources, primarily in Lake Tahoe and the Cayes in Belize.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, who attended a pre-Earth Day event at Sand Harbor State Park on Monday to celebrate the initiative, said the project’s funding and execution were perfect examples of this year’s Earth Day theme of “Invest in Our Planet.”
“As highlighted by this year’s Earth Day theme, such cross-cutting collaboration and collective investments in our natural environment are more pressing than ever, considering the widespread impacts of climate change and the ever-increasing demand for outdoor recreation,” Sisolak said. “I’m grateful for the many conservation champions in Lake Tahoe and across Nevada committed to protecting our natural environment and elevating our state’s celebrated outdoor heritage.”
Clean Up The Lake’s work started in 2020 with a pilot program where SCUBA divers cleaned up 2,000 pounds of trash and debris from a six-mile stretch of Lake Tahoe’s nearshore. They also removed more than 5,000 pounds of trash from Donner Lake during that pilot effort.
“These smaller scale clean-ups gave us the opportunity to practice our craft and fine tune our strategies, while also removing a substantial amount of trash from both Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake,” Clean Up The Lake founder Colin West said in 2020 after the initial successful clean-up.
The work completed during the bi-state clean-up effort – which spans Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile nearshore – isn’t just a litter removal effort. Clean Up The Lake officials said they’re working with scientists and environmental consultants to identify common types and sources of pollution in the lake and develop strategies and management solutions to reduce future pollution.
West said his team and volunteers will also be monitoring “litter hotspots” to help reduce build-up of pollutants that can degrade the water quality of the lake.
Source: Nevada Governor’s Office