The Reason Behind Lake Tahoe’s Blue Waters

The effects of Algae

Almost everywhere you go to a large body of water, there is some type of algae there. Sometimes, it is there in great accumulation, and other times not. But they’re good news for fishermen, as sometimes the fish like hiding in the shelter the algae, grass, and such provide.

But what do algae actually do to the water? Well normally when the algae blooms happen in the summer time, the atmosphere in the water changes, the pH level gets affects and the oxygen in the water end up dissolving.

This is especially troublesome if in stagnant water as there is no circulation of water to provide a new flow of oxygen for the fish and fishes end up dying out. But that’s not the only problem; algae also bring the levels of hydrogen up with the rise in pH level.
This is essential to the growth of algae in large amounts. The relationship between algae and water is quite paradoxical as it can raise oxygen but also deprive the oxygen in the water. Other concerns can be that some specimens release toxins which has been in the news recently in the Great Lakes area.

What does this have to do with Lake Tahoe’s blue waters?

Well, every so often the Tahoe Environmental Research Center check up on the status of the lake since its founding in 2004. This past Thursday on the 23rd, the TERC released their State of the Lake report.

The topic of choice for the report was Lake Tahoe’s blue waters. The reason why the lake is so blue is because of the low concentration of algae. That’s why in ponds, you see lots of green, as the algae concentration is likely higher.

Most assume that the water clarity attributes to the Lake Tahoe’s blue waters and blue water in general. However, the water could be blue and not as clear. The data that came from the report on Thursday suggests to the researchers and public that clarity is controlled by sediment disturbances and blueness to the algae concentration in the area.

What does this mean?

For one, we now understand the relationship better between water and algae and the effects each have on each other, the levels of influences in the environmental conditions. The other is that the Lake Tahoe’s blue waters have only been getting bluer in the past few years, indicating a lower algae concentration and clarity due to practically no sediment disturbances.


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