Lake Tahoe & Climate Change

LakeTahoe-near-EmeraldBayTahoe is one of my favorite places on Earth, so I’m doubly concerned about the impact of climate change on the largest alpine lake in North America. A few weeks ago, political leaders gathered at the lake shore for an annual discussion of what it will take to preserve it in the face of this environmental threat:

Chief among coming tasks will be efforts to reauthorize the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which would provide $415 million for environmental projects around the lake. The act has bipartisan support from the Nevada and California delegations but could face a tough time moving forward through a divided Congress, officials said Tuesday.

I’ve seen the fruits of this money driving around the lake, where stormwater runoff infrastructure and filtration systems have been added on the major roadways. Plus there has been an uptick in some selective logging projects, which are badly needed in the overgrown forest, especially as climate change leads to more severe droughts. Most people don’t realize that the Tahoe Basin was almost entirely clear-cut in the 1870s to supply the Nevada silver mines. So the current forest is a dense collection of mostly fir trees, which displaced the fire-resistant old growth pines that were annihilated by the logging companies.

Let’s hope our leaders successfully raise the funds necessary to protect this treasure from an uncertain future.


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