A female researcher poses on a research vessel on Lake Tahoe

Keeping Tahoe blue

UC physicist John Le Conte took the first scientific measurements of Lake Tahoe’s clear blue waters in 1868. A century later, the Tahoe Research Group, founded by UC Davis Professor Charles Goldman, began regular monitoring of the lake. This work by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center continues today. More than 60 years of data show the effects of human activity on the lake, and this information has been the basis for major environmental and planning decisions in the Lake Tahoe basin, ranging from stormwater and invasive species management to development best practices. Amid a warming, drying climate, Tahoe researchers also help monitor how wildfire smoke affects lake clarity. Beyond the lake’s iconic blue waters, scientists have taken the lessons of Lake Tahoe to help guide management of lakes from Clear Lake in California to the Arctic and Chilean Patagonia.

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