Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the entire North America. Now, the lake is visibly the clearest it has been in more than 40 years. According to a new report, the credit for making the lake’s water the clearest in decades goes to microscopic animals native to the lake.
Sitting on the border of Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe attracts over 15 million visitors a year, according to the record of the Lake Tahoe Tourism Board. Though known for its relatively clearer waters, the lake has been witnessing a decline in water clarity for over 50 years. Recently, it’s been experiencing dramatic improvement with the clearest waters recorded since 1980. According to environmental experts, hopefully, the clarity of Lake Tahoe will improve further in the future, bringing back the desired clarity level of 97.4 feet.
The recent findings are a part of the Lake Tahoe Clarity Report 2022, jointly conducted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. As per the report, the average annual clarity of Lake Tahoe saw a massive upgrade to 71.7 feet in 2022 from 61 feet in 2021. The report also predicts that in 2023, the waters would get even clearer throughout the year, if one factor remains unchanged.
And that factor is the population surge of a particular type of microscopic animals. According to the research team, the ultra-clear waters of Lake Tahoe can be credited to zooplankton inhabiting the lake. This microscopic animal eats tiny particles that make the water cloudy and helps to keep the lake clear. Recently, the zooplanktons experienced a massive population surge in this alpine lake, making them responsible for the dramatic change in water clarity as they provided a natural cleanup crew for Lake Tahoe.