“We want to understand more of what’s going on under the surface”
– Colin West, Founder & Executive Director of Clean Up The Lake
Clean Up The Lake worked all summer and pulled roughly 8,200 pounds of litter from the lakes. Over 5,000 pounds of litter was pulled from Donner Lake, while around 3,000 pounds of litter was pulled from Lake Tahoe.
What did they find the most of over the course of the summer? You guessed it, beer bottles and cans. Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area is a major tourist destination, no matter the season. This summer was even crazier and busier than usual with travel restrictions in place due to Covid-19. Instead of traveling internationally, tourists flocked to the Lake Tahoe region, and apparently left behind what they brought.
Due to limited resources, Clean Up The Lake was only able to scour the lake bed up to depths of 25 feet. Besides beer bottles and cans, other common findings included anchors, clothing, cups, and general trash. More rare findings included tires, jewelry, iPhones, and pieces of old boats.
While Donner Lake only has eight miles of shoreline, Lake Tahoe has 72 miles of shoreline, and Clean Up The Lake wasn’t able to cover all of it. However, they signaled they will be back in 2021 with a new and improved plan after learning the complexities and logistics of such a massive undertaking. They are also hoping to acquire an offshore fishing boat to be able to cover more ground and lift heavier items they weren’t able to pull out this past summer.
If you’re interested in participating, donating, or simply learning more, please visit cleanupthelake.org.