(KTXL) — A recent report by a research center at the University of California, Davis states that microplastic pollution is an issue in Lake Tahoe.

In its 2023 Tahoe: State of the Lake Report, UC Davis’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) found that Lake Tahoe’s levels of microplastic pollution are similar to the San Francisco Bay.
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Another point made in the report dealt with the lake’s improved clarity. According to the report, Lake Tahoe’s clarity is at the best-measured levels since the 1980s.

Geoffrey Schladow, TERC director and a professor of civil and environmental engineering, said about microplastics, “What goes into Tahoe, stays in Tahoe.”

“It’s a worry for every aquatic system,” he added.

Other report highlights

The report, which was released on Wednesday, described the past year for Lake Tahoe as, “one of rapid biological change.”

“With 2022 we had more changes throughout the lake than we’ve experienced over decades,” Schladow said.

High Water Levels

Among those changes are water levels, which are almost at maximum capacity—the report credits, “a wet November and December” for filling up the lake.

Nitrogen changes

The State of the Lake adds that restoration efforts to reduce “nutrient and fine particle loads entering the lake” have been successful.

Total nitrogen coming in from the Upper Truckee River was down from its average of 17.3 metric tons to 11.1 metric tons.