A new report says is indicating that Lake Tahoe's clarity decreased to a record-low annual average in 2017. 

The report released by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis, highlighted the combination of historic drought and one of the wettest winters on record as key factors contributing to low lake clarity last year.

It released a statement that says in part:

Unfortunately, in 2017 one of the most iconic indicators of Lake Tahoe’s health – lake clarity – registered its lowest recorded annual level. While annual clarity declines are not unusual, the record decline experienced in 2017 warrants additional investigation to help further understand ecosystem impacts, and to propose potential remedies. We understand that looking at clarity alone year-by-year does not necessarily reveal a trend. Nonetheless, considering the large reduction in clarity, the states need to have a better understanding of how the 2017 reported results relate to expected trends for the overall health of Lake Tahoe.


Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)  released the following statement:

“A historic drought followed by extreme snowfall and an unusually warm summer led to the lowest clarity we’ve seen in Lake Tahoe in years. While this is frustrating news, it’s important to remember this year’s data is the outlier in the five-year average. It doesn’t negate the progress we’ve made in restoring Lake Tahoe. 

“Successful restoration projects have also put us in a position to tackle the new challenges to the lake created by climate change. Lake Tahoe is warming faster than any large alpine lake, making it increasingly important to keep sediment and pollution runoff out of the lake.

 “This report serves as a stark reminder about the importance of conservation and restoration efforts. Without that progress, the lake would already have been lost. We must continue investing in those efforts if we’re going to save Lake Tahoe.”     

A joint letter to the Tahoe Science Advisory Council from Secretary Laird and Director Crowell can be read below.