There's no question one of the highlights of our Reno location is its proximity to Lake Tahoe. The highest alpine lake of its size in the States, it’s also one of the clearest, with an average underwater visibility of about 70 feet. This stunning clarity muddies in comparison to the 120 feet it boasted when scientists first started taking measurements back in the 60s. Those familiar with Tahoe know its name to be synonymous with crystalline waters the great lapis expanse of its surface as it reflects the skies that so often stretch cloudless above it.
The lake’s water quality is the cornerstone upon which many communities depend. The tourist community would no doubt stop visiting if the lake’s singularly clear character became compromised. The community of year-round residents depends on the pure water not only for the tourism economy it supports, it drinks from them, too. And while tourists and residents alike could theoretically move elsewhere, the unique assemblage of underwater life that have adapted to this austere aquatic environment have few options if the balance of Tahoe’s waters is tipped.
Some recent and unsettling news from our friends at the Tahoe Divers Conservancy suggests that is exactly what’s happening. Hit the jump for pictures of their recent findings and to read an excerpt that puts these images into perspective.
[Top - Tahoe as seen from its eastern shore. Photo: David Smoyer. Bottom - An up-close look at one of Tahoe's newest residents. Photo: Tahoe Divers' Conservancy collection.]