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Tahoe ‘State of the Lake’ report highlights changes in the water

For more than 50 years, researchers at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) have been closely observing the waters of Lake Tahoe. The annual State of the Lake report was released this week. According to UC Davis TERC Director Geoffrey Schladow, the 2021 data shows some significant changes that have not been seen before. One of the most notable is the decline in the Mysis shrimp population. This non-native species of plankton was introduced into the lake in the 1960s. “It’s literally gone,” Schladow said. “Will return. But the history of her life in Lake Tahoe would mean that it might take three or four years for her to come back, during which the lake will make a lot of very big adjustments.” Schladow said one of those potential changes is improving water clarity. That’s because Mysis shrimp have historically dominated a native species of Lake Tahoe zooplankton called Daphnia. Daphnia is known to help clean particles in water that can lead to cloudiness. Without the Mysis shrimp, the daphnia may be able to thrive again and clean the water. “We predict that clarity will improve significantly over the next couple of years, which could be great,” Schladow said. Schladow also says that if this cycle plays out as expected, it’s a good indicator for scientists and policymakers that efforts should be made to restore the lake’s biological balance while also working to keep human-made pollution at bay. . Another noted change in the lake involves an algal bacteria called cyanobacteria. In 2021, cyanobacteria became the dominant bacteria in Lake Tahoe for the first time in recorded history. Experts speculate that this is due to an increase in smoke from wildfires in the Tahoe Basin in 2021. This smoke increased the concentration of nitrogen in the water, and cyanobacteria often feed on nitrogen. Cyanobacteria is not a toxic form of algae, nor does it form a slimy green film on surfaces. Another note from the report revolves around the ongoing drought in California. The measurements show that 2021 was the third driest year on record for the Lake Tahoe basin. Researchers say it is “almost certain” that Lake Tahoe will sink below its natural rim and stop slowing down into the Truckee River this year. Schladow says this period of rapid change in Lake Tahoe is a perfect opportunity for scientists to learn more about the water and the ecosystem it houses. “If we don’t do anything, if we don’t change the amount of tracking that’s happening, yes, we’re going to be able to see things like, ‘Oh, the clarity has improved.’ But we won’t understand why, so for me, this is a great opportunity that we have now,” Schaldow said.

For more than 50 years, researchers at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) have been closely observing the waters of Lake Tahoe.

The annual State of the Lake report was released this week. According to UC Davis TERC Director Geoffrey Schladow, the 2021 data shows some significant changes that have not been seen before.

One of the most notable is the decline in the Mysis shrimp population. This non-native species of plankton was introduced into the lake in the 1960s.

“It’s literally gone,” Schladow said. “Will return. But her life history in Lake Tahoe would mean it could take three or four years for her to come back, during which time the lake will make a series of very large adjustments.”

Schladow said one of those potential changes is improving water clarity.

That’s because Mysis shrimp have historically dominated a native species of Lake Tahoe zooplankton called Daphnia. Daphnia is known to help clean particles in water that can lead to cloudiness.

Without the Mysis shrimp, the daphnia may be able to thrive again and clean the water.

“We predict that clarity will improve significantly over the next couple of years, which could be great,” Schladow said.

Schladow also says that if this cycle plays out as expected, it’s a good indicator for scientists and policymakers that efforts should be made to restore the lake’s biological balance while also working to prevent human-made pollution.

Another noted change in the lake involves an algal bacteria called cyanobacteria. In 2021, cyanobacteria became the dominant bacteria in Lake Tahoe for the first time in recorded history.

Experts speculate that this is due to an increase in smoke from wildfires in the Tahoe Basin in 2021. This smoke increased the concentration of nitrogen in the water, and cyanobacteria often feed on nitrogen.

Cyanobacteria are not a toxic form of algae, nor do they create a slimy, green film on surfaces.

Another note from the report revolves around the ongoing drought in California. The measurements show that 2021 was the third driest year on record for the Lake Tahoe basin. Researchers say it is “almost certain” that Lake Tahoe will sink below its natural rim and stop slowing down into the Truckee River this year.

Schladow says this period of rapid change in Lake Tahoe is a perfect opportunity for scientists to learn more about the water and the ecosystem it houses.

“If we don’t do anything, if we don’t change the amount of tracking that’s happening, yes, we’ll be able to see things like, ‘Oh, the clarity has improved.’ But we won’t understand why, so to me, this is a great opportunity that we have now Schaldow said.

Tahoe ‘State of the Lake’ report highlights changes in the water Source link Tahoe ‘State of the Lake’ report highlights changes in the water

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