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    Author(s): Dennis D. Murphy; Patricia N. Manley
    Date: 2009
    Source: Water Resources Impact 11(3): 15-17
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (602.09 KB)

    Description

    The Lake Tahoe basin is in environmenal distress. The lake is still one of the world’s most transparent bodies of water, but its fabled clarity has declined by half since discovery of the high-mountain lake basin by explorers a century and a half ago. At that time, incredibly, objects could be observed on the lake’s bottom a hundred feet down. Two-thirds of the lake’s transparency has been lost in just the past 30 years. The forests that surround 200-square mile Lake Tahoe were ravaged more than a century ago to feed expanding mining efforts in adjacent Nevada. Stands of yellow pines, once dominated by huge, widely spaced old-growth trees, were replaced after clear cutting by thickets of fir and shrubs. Subsequent fire suppression served to produce an especially fire-prone forest at great risk of severe and expansive wildfire events. A blaze two years ago destroyed hundreds of homes and nearly 3,000 acres of mature forest and wildlife habitat. Indeed, wildlife populations and the lake’s fishes have not fared well over the past century. One of nature’s ost productive fisheries, which once sustained uncounted generations of Native Americans at Lake Tahoe, has completely vanished owing to decades of overharvest followed by invasion by non-native species and collapse of the benthic food web.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Murphy, Dennis D.; Manley, Patricia N. 2009. A report from Lake Tahoe: Observation from an ideal platform for adaptive management. Water Resources Impact 11(3):15-17.

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