Lake Tahoe’s Declining Clarity

One of California’s most spectacular tourist destinations is the wonderful Lake Tahoe. California has thousands of lakes, but Tahoe is the state’s crown jewel. Sure, it’s beautiful and majestic, but what really makes it stand out from so many other lakes is the purity of its waters. Lake Tahoe is one of the clearest bodies of water on this planet with visibility stretching up to 100 feet.

Unfortunately, visibility has been slowly declining in the last number of years and today it stands at just 74 feet–still wonderfully clear, but sadly indicative of a growing problem. And, according to a recent LA Times article, it may only get worse.

There are currently plans to greatly increase the number of watercraft accessories over the next 22 years until there are 1,000 piers, 6,300 buoys and 3,000 boat slips surrounding the lake. Conservationists are concerned that such a drastic increase will result in far more boating activities on the lake, and as a result, a further muddying of the waters. Naysayers, claim otherwise, noting that the lake is too deep to be affected by a 30% increase in boating.

Whatever the eventual outcome of developers, I have a horrible feeling that it does not bode well for the clear waters of Tahoe. We can only hope that the isolation of Lake Baikal–Tahoe’s sister lake in Siberia and the clearest in the world–will escape similar damage.