Lake Tahoe Summit Focuses on Ecosystem Issues - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Lake Tahoe Summit Focuses on Ecosystem Issues

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Hundreds gathered in front of the majestic backdrop of Lake Tahoe to talk about the lake's future and how everyone needs to come together to keep our Jewel of the Sierra clean and beautiful. Extreme drought, wildfires and climate change- just some of the hot topics discussed today.

"It's a combination of things with the drought. It has magnified the issues here, we have invasive species we have to get out of here, so those are the issues we are working together and very aggressively,” says Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

Aggressive actions like mandatory boat inspections.

Some 18,000 have been completed since the program began to keep invasive species out of the lake.

Organizers say over the years this annual summit has helped raise awareness about the lake's fragile ecosystem. It's also helped raise money. During the past 18 years, more than $1.7 billion has gone to help keep the lake clean and pristine with many agencies coming together.

"That's what you saw here today, federal, state, and local governments all coming together with the private sector to try and figure out what's best for this lake.. And there's issues,” says Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).

Tough issues like our extreme drought that has the lake less than a foot above the natural rim, and cleaning up all the dead fuel on the forest floor that can magnify a wildfire.

"The message here is we have the drought, wildfires devastating the west and invasive species that follow the wildfires and make it worse,” says Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

Other efforts include reducing runoff into the lake and 137 miles of bike trails that have been built since 1997, to help cut down on traffic and pollution and the ongoing effort to build the Tahoe Pyramid Bike Trail.

Back in the 1960s the clarity of lake was more than 100 feet deep. In 1997, that dropped to 64 feet, and today it's back up to 75 feet. Organizers says that's due in part to conservation efforts.
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