TERC in the News

Have you been to a Lake Tahoe beach lately? (Opinion)
If you’ve been to the beach lately you’ve likely seen an unfamiliar and unforgettable sight: algae. Lots of algae. More algae than long-term researchers have ever seen. The type of algae you may have experienced varies all around the lake and the extent changes week by week. What is it? What is causing it? Should you be concerned? ...more

Could Lake Tahoe get even clearer? Scientists say there’s a way
Lake Tahoe, the world’s clearest large lake, could become even clearer over the next few years due to changes in its plankton population, scientists said in a new report. Researchers at UC Davis last week released their annual “State of the Lake” report, detailing several significant changes in Tahoe’s water ...more

Lake Tahoe Clarity Report for 2021 - Past 20 Years of Data Indicate Evolving Threats for Lake Tahoe
The cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe were about as clear in 2021 as they were in 2020. But a broader look at clarity measurements shows there ...more

Lake Tahoe Clarity Report for 2021
The cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe were about as clear in 2021 as they were in 2020. But a broader look at clarity measurements shows there is no pattern of consistent clarity improvement over the past 20 years. ...more

Lake Tahoe clarity stabilized over past 20 years
Lake Tahoe clarity has not improved, nor has it gotten worse in the last 20 years, officials announced this week. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center on Wednesday released findings from its annual ...more 

‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit brings hands-on education to Sand Harbor Visitor Center
Visitors to Sand Harbor State Park will now be able to enjoy an informational, hands-on exhibit where they can learn more about protecting Lake Tahoe from plastic pollution. ...more

‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit comes to Sand Harbor
Visitors to Sand Harbor State Park will now be able to enjoy an informational, hands-on exhibit where they can learn more about protecting Lake Tahoe from plastic pollution. ...more

What's Lurking in Lake Tahoe?
One of America’s most beautiful lakes is harboring a dirty secret. Journalist Megan Michelson dives into the legends—and the reality—of the world beneath the waters of Lake Tahoe. ...more

Tahoe on Edge
The winter that we just lived through, in which an extreme dump of snow was followed by a long dry spell, is looking like our new normal, and winters like this one spell trouble. ...more

‘A national treasure’: This law saved Tahoe 22 years ago. It's still delivering.
At the height of the summer of 1997, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore motored out to the middle of Lake Tahoe in a research vessel for a science lesson. Clinton and Gore came to Lake Tahoe after receiving an invitation ...more

Drought realizations settling in for California
April 1 is the peak season for snowpack. However, another straight year of drought is causing more concern for water resources. The Central Sierra snow lab has recorded 310 inches of snowfall to date - not to be mistaken for the snow depth ...more

TERC Talk: A brief moment of clarity at Tahoe
This year, on Jan. 5, there were high fives, whooping and hollering on the UC Davis research vessel. New Year’s Eve had long past, and everyone had driveways full of snow waiting to be shoveled at home. Why the festivities? The reason for ...more

‘Save Our Snow’ campaign raises awareness about changing winters
The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center has partnered with BrandXR, Palisades Tahoe, and Protect Our Winters on an educational campaign to increase public awareness and understanding of the negative effects of climate change to Lake Tahoe’s snowpack and the winter tourism industry. ...more

Saving Our Snow: Fresh Tahoe Snow Good for Water Supply
It’s winter break for many Bay Area schools and that means lots of families are in Tahoe. The fresh snow isn’t just good for skiers and snowboarders, our water supply depends on our Sierra snowpack. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Heather Segale of UC Davis and Mike Reitzell, president of Ski California, for some insight. ...more

Changing Habits, Energy Use, and Climate Perceptions
In November, the Center for Behavior and Climate sponsored a Behavior Change for Climate Action Challenge. After receiving submissions from around the world, we are so pleased to announce our three grantees: Habits of WasteBedford 2030, and the UCDavis Tahoe Environmental Research Center who are working, respectively on ...more

My Kids Want Plastic Toys. I Want to Go Green. Here's the Middle Ground
Waiting in a check-out line a few days ago, my children started begging for toys and trinkets hanging on the impulse-buy racks. Rather than replying with the usual “Not today” euphemism, I found myself saying, “Maybe for Christmas.” Alas, it’s that time of year again when I cave ...more

7th Tahoe Film Fest returns to Lake Tahoe
The 7th Tahoe Film Fest is returning to North Shore Lake Tahoe from Dec. 2-5. The films will be shown at Incline Village Cinema, Northstar Village Cinema, and the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room. The event will feature both inspiring films and the directors and filmmakers ...more

Volunteers continue to measure Caldor Fire impact on Tahoe
Last month, during the storm driven by an atmospheric river, the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s staff and Pipe Keepers citizen scientist volunteers collected stormwater samples, made qualitative visual observations, and took quantitative measurements of water quality indicators ...more

7th annual Tahoe Film Fest to benefit UC Davis TERC
The 7th Tahoe Film Fest will take place December 2-5, with films being screened at Incline Village Cinema, Northstar Village Cinema, and the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room. All proceeds and ticket sales benefit the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) with several films ...more

Tahoe Environmental Research Center Offering Free Sugar Pine Seedlings to Tahoe residents
The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center is offering free sugar pine seedlings to Tahoe residents October 29-31 as part of a restoration project funded by the Tahoe Fund and the California Tahoe Conservancy. The goal of the project is to establish a new ...more

Underwater cleanup progresses at Lake Tahoe despite smoky setbacks
Clean Up the Lake has reached another milestone by reaching the West Shore of Lake Tahoe after a summer full of starts and stops. Divers have now cleaned almost 44 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline, putting them at 60% complete. Within that distance, they’ve ...more

Climate change disrupting natural cycles at drier Lake Tahoe
Drought fueled by climate change has dropped Lake Tahoe below its natural rim and halted flows into the Truckee River, an historically cyclical event that’s occurring sooner and more often than it used to — raising fears about what might be in store for the famed alpine lake. ...more

Initial Lake Tahoe water clarity study findings promising after Caldor Fire
The League to Save Lake Tahoe is studying its initial findings in a study to analyze the impacts of the Caldor Fire on the lake. The Tahoe Science Advisory Council launched a rapid response scientific study to gather samples of smoke and ashfall from the Caldor Fire. ...more

Tahoe stormwater study promising after Caldor
Testing stormwater in late October’s big storm, the League to Save Lake Tahoe found water quality was “not out of the ordinary” in areas impacted by the Caldor Fire. The league has been analyzing initial findings of a study on the impacts of the Caldor Fire on the lake’s ...more

Drought, climate change cause Lake Tahoe to dip below natural rim
Drought fueled by climate change has dropped Lake Tahoe below its natural rim and halted flows into the Truckee River, an historically cyclical event that’s occurring sooner and more often than it used to — raising fears about what might be in store for the famed alpine lake. ...more

Lake Tahoe Level Drops / Yocha Dehe Wintun’s Campaign to End Racism in Sports Names and Mascots / Congressmember Adam Schiff / Lassen Volcanic National Park Reopens After Dixie Fire
Lake Tahoe’s water level amid drought and how it is impacting the Truckee River. Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation discusses their ongoing campaign to end racism in sports names and mascots. Rep. Adam Schiff (D) joins us to talk about his new book ‘Midnight in Washington.’ Lassen Volcanic National Park reopens for the first time since the Dixie Fire burned more than half of the area. Tune in here. 

Lake Tahoe drops below its natural rim
Lake Tahoe is now terminal. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center on Tuesday night reported that the level of Lake Tahoe fell precipitously over the past couple of days despite the recent snow and has fallen below its natural ...more

Lake Tahoe has fallen to an alarmingly low level. 
This week, a historically dry period in California will come to bear at Lake Tahoe, where the water level is expected to sink below the basin’s natural rim. That’s the point at which the lake pours into its only outflow, the Truckee River. ...more

Lake Tahoe's water level drops to four-year low
Lake Tahoe's water level has dropped to a four-year low. It was hovering around the natural rim but this week it fell just below it. At that point water stops flowing out into the Truckee River. One researcher says the water level is decreasing about a quarter of an inch a day and it's something to keep an eye on. ...more

Caldor fire smoke and ash are clouding Lake Tahoe’s famously clear water
The Caldor fire has triggered mass evacuations in two states, torched hundreds of homes, made the air hazardous to breathe and spurred President Biden to issue an emergency declaration. But the erratic wildfire is also causing another problem for Lake Tahoe: Smoke and ash particles are entering the lake and clouding its world-famous crystal blue waters  ...more

Smoke Clears But Lake Tahoe's Water Clarity Still Impacted
For generations, the pristine blue waters of Lake Tahoe have drawn nature lovers escaping their concrete jungles for a forest paradise. And though the area just escaped widespread devastation from the recent Caldor Fire, scientists are still seeing signs of the smoke's impact on the lake's water quality....more

Get ready for more wind, fires, blackouts
When it comes to California’s fire season, there’s no rest for the weary. Soon after PG&E began restoring power to the 24,000 customers hit with shutoffs amid Monday and Tuesday’s gusty winds, the utility warned ...more

Future of Lake Tahoe clarity in question as wildfires worsen
When a wildfire crested the mountains near North America’s largest alpine lake, embers and ash that zipped across a smoky sky pierced Lake Tahoe’s clear blue waters. The evacuation order for thousands to flee their homes has been lifted, but ...more

One Of California’s Favorite Escapes May Never Be The Same Because Of Climate Change
Brian Hunter hadn’t yet been ordered to leave his South Lake Tahoe home. But, thinking back to how a wildfire tore through the town of Paradise three years ago and killed 85 people, he didn’t want to risk it. As flames crept toward the Tahoe Basin, he and his partner loaded the car with their belongings, their dog, and two cats, and ...more

Climate Change Pushes Fires to Higher Ground
Scientists have known for decades that climate change makes wildfires more common, larger, and more intense. Now an international team of scientists has demonstrated a new connection between fires and global warming. Using data from Landsat satellites, they discovered that wildfires in the western United States have been spreading to ...more

Devastating fires could damage Lake Tahoe’s iconic blue waters
Researchers have already seen drops in Lake Tahoe’s clarity during the fires, although it may be temporary. The damage could last years, but its extent depends on how much burns and releases soot into its famous blue waters. ...more

Measuring Lake Tahoe's Clarity Amid Smoky Fire Season
The cool morning and warm afternoon made it a pleasant day out on the lake for field crews of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center on Tuesday. Brant Allen, the research center's Field Lab Director and Staff Research Associate, Brandon Berry, took ...more

Science, Despite Smoke, at Lake Tahoe: Collecting Critical Data Under Smokey Skies
This week, the Lake Tahoe Basin has been experiencing the nation's worst air quality as the Caldor Fire and other nearby wildfires threaten the region. Nevertheless, field staff from the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center were out on the water, taking critical new measurements...more

Plastic ‘Pool’ Toy Pollution in the Wild
Summer Brings a Macro Microplastic Problem to Natural Waterways - A new trend of pool toys containing glitter and microbeads is complicating the already pervasive environmental problem of microplastic pollution. University of California, Davis, scientists studying plastics pollution ...more

2020 Lake Tahoe Clarity Report: Trends Holding but Threats Remain 
Lake Tahoe’s water clarity measurements, which are indicators of the health of the watershed, averaged 62.9 feet through 2020, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency announced ...more

New app asks Lake Tahoe residents, visitors to keep lake clean by being ‘citizen scientists’
Thousands of visitors and residents are likely to make Lake Tahoe a part of their July 4th celebrations, but scientists with the University of California, Davis want people to take more action to keep the lake clean this weekend. ...more

Why water levels in megadrought-impacted Southwestern states have some experts concerned
California was once the site of a gold rush. But now arguably one of the most precious commodities in parts of the state and in the Southwest is something else entirely -- water -- as the region grapples with a decades-long megadrought that ...more

Tahoe Science Center to reopen with new plastics exhibit; Get involved
Lots of stuff was happening behind closed doors and under the microscope. On a Zoom call in mid-May, Heather Segale, the education and outreach director at UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, shared some of the...more

UC Davis TERC begins Summer Science Speaks series with talk on beer
UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) is launching it in-person Summer Science Speaks series with the return of Dr. Charlie Bamforth. He specializes in beer and brewing and loves keeping all of Tahoe's beer-lovers in stitches ...more

Helping Out Lakes in Hot Water
The Heat is Up and Oxygen is Down for the Planet’s Lakes. What You Can Do.
When hot weather hits, we long for cool waters. The warm sand, sparkling lakes, that first run off the pier and into the splash of summer. This is classic, nostalgia-soaked stuff. ...more

Tahoe native fish numbers decline
Lake Tahoe has changed over the years and that change becomes obvious when looking at the lake’s food web. Due to overfishing, introduction of non-native species (both on purpose and accidental) and elevated water temperatures ...more

Tahoe students address plastic problem; inspire change in Raley’s
Small plastic pieces are causing a big problem for Lake Tahoe. To support efforts to reduce plastic waste, students from environmental clubs at four high schools in the region partnered with staff from local nonprofits to learn ...more

Students Make Strides in Effort to Reduce Local Plastic Pollution
Local high school students from the North Tahoe/Truckee ‘Envirolution’ Club secure commitments from Raley’s Leadership to reduce plastic waste in effort to solve Lake Tahoe’s microplastics problem (press release)

Fishing through history: Tahoe’s ecosystem ever-changing as native numbers decline
Lake Tahoe has changed over the years and that change becomes obvious when looking at the lake’s food web. Due to overfishing, introduction of non-native species (both on purpose and accidental) and elevated water temperatures, the ...more

Nonprofit hopes to restore Lake Tahoe's clarity with dog treats made of shrimp
What do dog treats have to do with Lake Tahoe's clarity? A lot, according to Yuan Cheng, founder of Shrimply Blue, a California nonprofit organization that has a “mission to restore Lake Tahoe’s clarity, one dog treat at a time.” ...more

Tsunami at Lake Tahoe? Researcher says it could happen again
The past year was such a wild ride that even the thought of a tsunami at Lake Tahoe probably doesn't sound out of reason.
Several thousand years ago, according to Richard Schweickert, a retired University of Nevada, Reno geology professor, the lake experienced just such an event. ...more

Heavy visitation during pandemic creates new worries for the Lake Tahoe basin
Often called the “jewel of the Sierra,” Lake Tahoe offered warm solace for Nevadans this summer amid the crushing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed people outside in greater numbers as the virus spreads more easily in indoor spaces. ...more

The Fate of Plastics in Lake Tahoe?
If the sun hits the blue waters of Lake Tahoe just right, and it’s a calm day off the point where the Cal Neva Resort & Casino sits quiet, stand up on your paddleboard or lean over the bow of your kayak and look for plastic floating on the surface or at varying depths. Following major wind events, you might find a mini “garbage patch” forming on the surface. ...more

Microplastic clean up, research continues at Lake Tahoe
Microplastics are a widespread problem that are not only found in the ocean, but research is showing that microplastic are in freshwater lakes as well, including Lake Tahoe. While scientific research on microplastics in freshwater has been limited in the past, momentum is gaining. ...more

UC Davis researchers study microplastics in Tahoe
UC Davis researchers began a new study this summer. They're studying the effects of microplastics in Lake Tahoe. UC Davis tested beaches all around the lake and found plastic in almost every sample. A microplastic is a very tiny piece of plastic, smaller than a grain of rice. ...more

Tahoe Film Fest returns with modified schedule on North Shore
The 6th Annual Tahoe Film Fest presents environmental and independent feature length and award winning films to North Lake Tahoe from December 3-6, 2020. Special guests and filmmakers will be present at many of the films. ...more

‘Thanks a million’: Goldman recognized for historic work at Lake Tahoe
It’s safe to say that without Dr. Charles Goldman, Lake Tahoe would not have the same beautiful, crystal clear blue water it has today. Goldman’s work and research transformed the way people think about lake transparency and led to the formation of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. ...more

Raley’s working with Tahoe organizations and UC Davis to reduce plastic waste
Tahoe organizations, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), and Raley’s in Incline Village started a partnership to help reduce plastic waste. Raley’s is selling Drink Tahoe Tap reusable water bottles. The goal is to encourage its customers to fill the bottles at Drink Tahoe Tap stations throughout the Tahoe Basin. ...more

Annual UC Davis study finds Lake Tahoe is losing clarity because of algae, shrimp
The University of California, Davis has continually monitored the conditions of Lake Tahoe since 1968. And even a global pandemic didn’t stop the center from its annual findings. On Thursday, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center published its annual Tahoe: State of the Lake Report. ...more

Dog Treats May Help Restore Lake Tahoe’s Clarity
After spending about $2,000,000,000 ($2 billion for those who forgot what all those zeros mean) to improve Lake Tahoe’s clarity, the efforts seem to be for naught. Even so, the Draconian measures placed on government jurisdictions and agencies in the basin by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board remain intact. ...more

UC Davis’ Plan To Increase Clarity Of Lake Tahoe Will Please Tourists And Dogs
UC Davis has a plan that’s part science and part business that will increase the clarity of Lake Tahoe and make dog treats in the process. Lake Tahoe is arguably one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the world and one of the clearest, but the clarity of the lake has been declining in recent years and that has environmentalists worried. ...more

Happy Healthy Pets 2020: Dog treats in the works to help clear up Lake Tahoe
Researchers are working on a new dog treat that will benefit more than just hungry pets — the environment. Mysis shrimp, University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center scientists have found, is doing damage to Lake Tahoe’s famously clear blue waters. ...more

Are Shrimp-Flavored Dog Treats The Answer To Keeping Lake Tahoe Blue?
Mention shrimp to Geoffrey Schladow and he’ll smile. That’s because his team at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center has come up with an idea to remove the invasive crustacean from Lake Tahoe. Doing so, Schladow says, could help prevent climate change from destroying the lake’s  iconic blue hue. ...more

From invasive species to high-end pet food: UC Davis researchers, students plan to turn Mysis shrimp into dog treats in fight to save Tahoe’s clarity
The key to controlling the numbers of Lake Tahoe’s invasive Mysis shrimp, which have been linked to a decline in clarity, might be as simple as rewarding the family dog with a treat. ...more

UC Davis Grads to take on Tahoe Invasive Species with Dog Treats
If you identified water fleas as the central piece to the problematic puzzle of declining clarity at Lake Tahoe, congratulations. And if you named dog treats as a viable solution to ecological problems at the lake, you win again. ...more

Lake Tahoe Clarity Report Mixed for 2019: Converging Threats Challenge Lake Restoration [Official Press Release]
The clarity of Lake Tahoe has long been one of the most important indicators of the changing condition of this iconic water body. In 2019, Lake Tahoe’s clarity decreased nearly 8 feet from the previous year’s dramatic 10-foot improvement. ...more

Tiny Shrimp, Big Problem: A Collaboration of Science and Business Could Rid Lake Tahoe of a Major Polluter
Lake Tahoe is known for its beautiful blue waters and remarkable transparency. But its clarity is threatened by climate change and urbanization — and billions of tiny invasive shrimp. Researchers at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental ...more

Virtual gardening workshop focuses on high-elevation growing
Birds are chirping and the snow is almost completely melted. Spring weather means it’s the perfect time to get outside and get your hands dirty. Having a bountiful supply of fruits and vegetables sounds wonderful in these times, but living ...more

A bet on Sierra survivors: In climate race, scientists are propagating trees with staying power
The sugar pine, with its footlong ones and feathery branches that stretch out high above the forest, used to be one of the most common trees standing guard over Lake Tahoe's clear waters. But drought, bark beetles and climate change have ravaged this beloved conifer, whose population was already diminished by logging ...more