Friday 23 February 2018
 

Lake Clarity

Green substrate; Source: M. Sweeney, Tahoe Project

The causes of Lake Tahoe’s clarity decline have been identified as fine sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus. Fine sediment, the greatest contributor to clarity decline, travels to the Lake primarily via stormwater from urban areas.

 

Maintain Roads and Infrastructure for a Clear Lake Tahoe, Kraatz (3)

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Peter Kraatz: Maintain Roads and Infrastructure for a Clear Lake Tahoe (3) 13:25


 

“Living in the Tahoe Basin is a privilege,” says Peter Kraatz, Deputy Director of Public Works at Placer County. “If you go back a hundred years there was a big push to turn it into a national park. It is not a national park. It is a sensitive landscape though. It got developed the way that it did. We are trying to correct the way it got developed in the past and make it a better place,” he says. Kraatz sees private property owners as stewards of the Tahoe Basin, in partnership with local government. He says, “I feel like in the Tahoe Basin we really should put a lot of emphasis on the fact that we live in a very special, place, in a very sensitive environment that has a higher bar for protecting the environment. If we want to continue to live around an incredible gem of a water body and still keep the economy going we have to look to ourselves for the solution.” 

 

 

Existing infrastructure such as roads and bike paths can be operated and maintained to help Lake Tahoe clarity. photo: Tahoe City Bike Path source: Tahoe City Public Utility District

 

Clear Path to a Clear Lake Tahoe, Kouyoumdjian (2)

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Patty Kouyoumdjian: Clear Path to a Clear Lake Tahoe (2) 7:03

 

 

In this interview, Patty Kouyoumdjian, Executive Officer at California’s Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, reflects on the challenge of “being able to financially pay for some of these [water quality improvement] measures, not just in the short term but in outgoing years.” She notes that while collaborative culture is an asset, the mechanics of coordinating across local, state and federal agencies can be a challenge unto itself. Collaboration, she notes, is essential to success. “We can’t solve our problems in the Basin with the work of just one or two agencies,” she says, “there are other decisions and other actions that need to occur.”

 

 

photo: Reducing ultra fine sediment particles getting to Lake Tahoe will help water clarity. Blue Tahoe Wave © 2013 Michelle Sweeney

   

Clear Path to a Clear Lake Tahoe, Kouyoumdjian (1)

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Patty Kouyoumdjian: Clear Path to a Clear Lake Tahoe (1) 7:33

 

There is a clear path we can take to restore Lake Tahoe’s clarity according to Patty Kouyoumdjian, Executive Officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. She says, “I think we are very clear on where the sources of pollution are and I think we are relatively set on what actions need to happen to improve lake clarity”. In this 2012 Tahoe Project interview Kouyoumdjian emphasizes the “true and hard and real measures that we have to reach,” talking about the reductions in ultra-fine particles that have to be made at Lake Tahoe by 2026. She says, we now have “a very clear roadmap of what we need to do,” to accomplish our goal of water clarity at Lake Tahoe.

 

photo: Reducing ultra fine sediment particles getting to Lake Tahoe will help water clarity. Blue Tahoe Wave © 2013 Michelle Sweeney

 

Cost-Effective Steps to a Clear Lake Tahoe, Larsen (1)

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Bob Larsen: Cost-Effective Steps to a Clear Lake Tahoe (1) 8:11

 

Bob Larsen is Staff Scientist at the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. In this 2012 interview he says, “I think the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) provided us with the opportunity to be more involved in the process [of solving Lake Tahoe clarity decline], to engage with the scientific community and our implementing partners to figure out, to better understand, the problem and to better understand what the potential solutions might be—to be a more-active partner in the restoration of Lake Tahoe’s transparency.”

 

photo: Maintaining and operating roads is a big step toward water clarity. Emerald Bay Moraine © 2013 Michelle Sweeney

   

Maintain Roads and Infrastructure for a Clear Lake Tahoe, Kraatz (1)

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Peter Kraatz: Maintain Roads and Infrastructure for a Clear Lake Tahoe (1) 11:16


Public Works professionals throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin are striving to meet the Clarity Challenge—to reduce the number of ultra-fine sediment particles that get to Lake Tahoe every year by one-third by 2026. This is no small task. Among them is Peter Kraatz, Deputy Director of Public Works at Placer County. In this 2012 interview Kraatz talks about the “preferred design approach” engineers use to design systems that reduce the transport of ultra-fine sediment to Lake Tahoe. 

 

Existing infrastructure such as roads and bike paths can be operated and maintained to help Lake Tahoe clarity. photo: Tahoe City Bike Path source: Tahoe City Public Utility District

   

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