Various federal and state agencies, with support from private foundations, wage an ongoing battle against the spread of invasive species in the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe.
A fairly recent strategy appears to be working. Thin rubber sheets 100 feet in length are placed over infested areas. This technique suffocates the weeds, clams and other species that have been introduced to the lake from the unclean bilges and hulls of recreational boats, along with other careless human activity.
What about native vegetation in the lake, you might ask?
There really is none. The sandy bottom is pristine in its natural state, leaving the water sparkling clear, a perfect surface to reflect the blue sky above.
Emerald Bay is virtually free from invasives today.
Emerald Bay weed control
The lake’s clarity has largely been stabilized due to persistent environmental controls – from runoff- reducing landscaping standards to boat inspections.
Local governments are also adept at responding to disasters, such as a broken sewage pipe resulting from the construction of a home near Kings Beach on the north shore in July 2005. The 120,000 gallon leak was stopped quickly and the flow corralled in short order. The adjacent beach was reopened in 11 days after two consecutive clean tests for bacteria. It was as if it never happened.
No one, either with the local governments or residents, can let their guard down. Blocking algae-forming nutrients from flowing into the lake is a non stop battle, but the local communities realize that the lake’s clarity is the most important asset to the region’s economy.
You can really appreciate the concerted effort everyone makes when you visit one of the beaches and swim in water so pure you can drink it. It is one of the few swimming experiences where you will feel absolutely clean and refreshed when you are through.
I’ll take it over LA south bay beaches any day.