Keeping Tahoe Blue

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.-- It's a busy morning as a team of scientists and Fish and Wildlife officials monitor aquatic life on Lake Tahoe. They're shocking the water and pulling out an array different fish. Many of them are invasive.

"Today we have got a good set of non-native warm water fish just as large mouth bass, blue gill, and brown bull-head," said Christine Ryan, an Aquatic Invasive Species Biologist with UNR.

It's a new program that aims to reduce invasive populations by removing them from the lake.

"So what we are trying to do is find-out of there are ways where we can control the population in terms of numbers, density and distribution," said Ryan.

This group is part of a hand-full of scientist working to monitor and correct the problems facing not just the lake, but the surrounding area.

"It's one of the few areas in the region where ozone has been trending upwards," said Alan Gertler, DRI Vice President of Research.

Scientists with DRI warn pollution is an issue Tahoe has to deal with soon. Not only is it approaching regulated maximums, there is too much nitrogen in the water and that has potential to cause a major algae bloom which would threaten the lake's clarity.

"Plants need light to photosynthesis, and at some point, they are going to reach a limitation in depth. So that limitation has become more shallow since the 1960's since we have seen such a drop in clarity," said Annie Caires, a UNR Aquatic Invasive Invertebrates Biologist

With native plants disappearing, the ecosystem starts to break down, leaving these scientist looking for a solution and hoping it works.

"What we really would like to see is a continuation of this monitoring, so that we know what happens over time and we can see if these things are actually being positively affected by the positive changes we make in the lake," said Caires.

With continuing research, they're confident they can find a way to keep Tahoe blue.


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