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Problem:

Lake Tahoe over the last few years has gained popularity, but not for its beautiful
beaches and stunning water, but because of its increase in the algae population,
pollution, and eutrophication (the overabundance of nutrients). It has not only affected
the quality of the water, but the color as well. It has started to become less and less blue
because over the unnecessary abundance of algae taking over the water and the
sediments from human activity.
Phytoplankton are also affected. They live in oceans, seas, and lakes.
Phytoplankton live at the top of the water column, as far down as the sun can penetrate.
The algae in these areas are affecting the Phytoplankton greatly. Without sufficient
sunlight the Phytoplankton are dying and being reduced in numbers immensely.

Previous Attempted Solutions:

The primary anthropogenic (human cause) sources are accelerated erosion,


fertilizer use, car exhaust and urban runoff. Excessive automobile use degrades air
quality in the Basin and contributes to the decline in Tahoes clarity. Ride your bike,
walk, carpool, take the trolley, ski shuttles or use public transportation.
Stay on trails when you hike or bike. Straying from the trail causes erosion, one
of the key problems causing Lake Tahoes declining clarity.
Use native plants when landscaping. Native or adapted plants are easier to
maintain, require little irrigation, and little or no fertilizer. Excess fertilizer from
landscaping practices can flow into Lake Tahoe and feed algae.
Most of the solutions they are doing arent helping the algae problem but trying to
keep the people from polluting the lake. We want to do something more biotech related
to make a permanent solution.

Current Limitations:
Lake Tahoe is currently losing its clarity. The lake is becoming increasingly green
opposed to blue. This can be attributed to the levels of algae. The levels of phosphorus
in lakes contributes to the amount of algae. When the phosphorus increases, so does
the algae. If a plan was put in motion to reduce the amount of algae in Lake Tahoe,
there would also have to be a plan to rid the lake of phosphorus.
Sources such as fertilizer, pet waste, stormwater runoff, and agriculture can
impact the amount of algae in the lake. These sources would have to be decreased in
order to reduce the amount of algae.
Proposed Solution:
Our idea is to remove the increasing amount of algae blooms that are affecting
the water quality/color of Lake Tahoe by creating a bacteria that would break down the

algae and be large enough to be filtered out after the job has been finished. This
operation should only be needed occasionally because the phytoplankton in Lake Tahoe
will thrive with the algae gone and prevent it from coming back for a long while.
We formulated this solution from a study by UC davis, it said that the increase in
growth in algae is believed to be due to a reduction in the size of the phytoplankton in
the lake, overabundance of nutrients, and human activity sources.The primary human
activity sources are accelerated erosion, fertilizer use, car exhaust and urban runoff.
Citations:
http://terc.ucdavis.edu/ed-outreach/documents/docent-training/4scienceresearch.pdf
https://keeptahoeblue.org/beblue/
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/lahontan/press_room/press_releases/docs/pr090
210.pdf
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/algae/lakes/LakeRestoration.html
https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/keep-tahoe-blue-less-algae-not-clarity-key-factorblueness

Virtual Mentor and Credentials:


Our chosen mentor is Dr. Darcie Goodman Collins. She is a PhD and is the
executive director of the official Keep Tahoe Blue league. Collins earned her doctorate
at the University of California, Santa Barbara and has previously served as Habitat
Restoration Director for Save the Bay.