Researchers shift focus to Tahoe's nearshore

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Researchers shift focus to Tahoe's nearshore

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Scientists in Reno and California are taking a closer look at the health of Tahoe's nearshore.

Scientists in Reno and California are taking a closer look at the health of Tahoe's nearshore. Up this point, research on the health of Tahoe has focused on measuring clarity and other indicators in the middle of the lake.

Alan Heyvaert is with the Desert Research Institute.

"The nearshore itself represents an important part of the experience we all have at Tahoe, and it's not the same as our experience with the mid-lake."

Heyvaert says, after all, the nearshore is where most people spend their time, and because of that it's also exposed to many possible pollutants. Scientists at DRI, as well as UNR and UC Davis, have compiled a report on what's known about the shallows and submitted recommendations to regulatory agencies, including the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Heyvaert says not enough data exist yet to really say how that part of the lake is doing, but there are several obvious indicators. For example, the algae on the rocks.

"If you compare it to previous studies ten years ago, twelve years ago, it has increased in some areas; these are generally areas associated with urban influences, but the exact causative factors have not been identified."

The report proposes a coordinated approach to measuring this indicator, as well as clarity, the presence or absence of native species and others. Funding is not yet secured for this program, and now it's up to the regulatory agencies to find those dollars. The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act could provide some funding. The bill was introduced in the U.S Senate this summer and just introduced in the House of Representatives this week.