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8,183 pounds of trash removed from Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake

8,183 pounds of trash removed from Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake

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Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe trash cleanup

Trash is shown from Clean Up The Lake's scuba removal of waste from Donner Lake and Take Tahoe.

ZEPHYR COVE, NV – September 22, 2020—Clean Up the Lake, a 501©3 non-profit organizaAon, has removed 8,183 pounds of trash from Donner Lake & Lake Tahoe. Beginning in July 2020, the Clean Up The Lake dive teams completed a circumnavigated SCUBA clean up of Donner Lake, covering every inch of the 8 mile shoreline at depths of 0-25 feet removing all the smaller trash they could find that resulted in 5,151.5 pounds of trash removed from Donner Lake compared to 3,032 pounds of trash removed from the depths of Lake Tahoe. Other than 371 pounds of Lake Tahoe’s SCUBA trash count, all of this trash was removed since June of 2020.

Clean Up The Lake has worked with staff & volunteers this summer to further develop their strategic approach of SCUBA clean ups that involve teams of divers, free divers & snorkelers, surface support on kayaks, zodiacs, jet skis and of course boats. A porAon of this trash came from a six mile clean up of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe sub-surface shoreline yielding 2,238 pounds of Trash from popular areas like Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove, Secret beach and areas near Incline Village. This cleanup was funded by the License Plate Grant from Nevada Division of State Lands & a sub-grant by NV Department of Environmental ProtecAon and the United States Environmental ProtecAon Agency (EPA).

Clean Up The Lake’s Founder & ExecuAve Director Colin West is not only leading these dives to remove this trash, yet is also currently working with microplasAcs research teams from UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and Desert Research InsAtute (DRI) to beaer understand the issue at hand so that in the future the organizaAon can do more than pick up the trash, but address the plasAc & liaer issue at its root.

During this summer’s clean ups, West and his team used an archeological surveying sobware called the Wildnote App. This allows divers to GPS pinpoint areas of interest such as trash hot spots, areas with heavier items that need a winch or crane to be removed, and also historical items that are leb behind where the organizaAon ensures to later noAfy proper authoriAes with the GPS data + photographs.

“In comparison to next year’s 72 mile SCUBA clean up of Lake Tahoe, these smaller scale clean ups gave us the opportunity to pracAce our crab & fine tune our strategies, while also removing a substanAal amount of trash from both Lake Tahoe & Donner Lake,” said West. “Our organizaAon now feels even more ready for what awaits us on the 72 mile SCUBA clean up next year”.

On September 23, 2020, Clean Up the Lake, UC Davis TERC and DRI will be sorAng and categorizing the 2,248 pounds of trash. They will then use the data to develop educaAonal programs, beaer inform policy makers, spread public awareness on items that need to be reduced so they do not make back into the lake & so much more.

As a non-profit organizaAon, Clean Up the Lake depends on donaAons to conAnue fighAng the good fight. They give thanks to the Truckee Community & local businesses like Mountain Hardware & Sports & Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company who sponsored their efforts. Clean Up The Lake also has an Adopt a Mile program where individual or business donors can sponsor one full mile of Lake Tahoe’s clean up efforts and explore other partnership & donaAon opportuniAes. Be a part of the soluAon and visit to pledge your support.

For more informaAon, please contact the ExecuAve Director Colin West at (530) 562-7131 or


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