Governor Sisolak celebrates completion of Lake Tahoe litter removal project in Nevada
As an early kick off to Earth Day 2022, today Governor Sisolak joined officials from the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - along with staff and volunteers from Clean Up the Lake (CUTL) and project sponsors Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Blue Vodka - at Nevada’s Sand Harbor State Park to celebrate the completion of a historic initiative to remove underwater trash and debris from nearshore areas across the entire Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.
Efforts to clear out underwater litter from Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile nearshore in Nevada and California began in 2021, after CUTL completed a pilot program the year before that facilitated the removal of over 2,000 pounds of trash from just six miles of the lake. With the entire 28-mile Nevada side of the lake now complete, and with less than eight miles remaining in California’s nearshore, CUTL is slated to finish the entire bi-state Lake Tahoe clean-up effort later this month. This tremendous undertaking is the largest-ever underwater clean-up effort at Lake Tahoe; in Nevada alone, CUTL’s scuba dive team has removed nearly 13,000 pounds of litter.
Funded by multiple public and private entities, this unique partnership project perfectly captures the spirit of this year’s Earth Day theme, Invest in Our Planet. Since 2020, the Nevada Division of State Lands has provided over $130,000 in Lake Tahoe License Plate proceeds from sales and annual renewal fees to help fund CUTL’s cleanup efforts. Additionally, dozens of nonprofits and businesses have helped fund this important cause, including $150,000 from Tahoe Fund donors and a $100,000 donation from Tahoe Blue Vodka.
“I applaud all public and private partners working together to advance Clean up the Lake’s project to help keep Lake Tahoe clean, healthy, and vibrant for generations to come,” said Gov. Sisolak. “As highlighted by this year’s Earth Day theme, such cross-cutting collaboration and collective investments in our natural environment are more pressing than ever, considering the widespread impacts of climate change and the ever-increasing demand for outdoor recreation. I’m grateful for the many conservation champions in Lake Tahoe and across Nevada committed to protecting our natural environment and elevating our state’s celebrated outdoor heritage.”
Along with removing submerged litter, CUTL is currently working with scientists and environmental consultants to identify the most common types and sources of waste found in the lake to help inform litter prevention strategies and management solutions. Additionally, the team will be monitoring “litter hotspots” to help reduce the build-up of degrading materials and improve overall water quality. Collectively, these efforts are helping protect the lake’s famous water clarity and natural environment, while enhancing visitor experiences for families and tourists at this world-class recreation destination.
Learn more at cleanupthelake.org.
Photos and video of today’s event can be accessed at the link here.
About Clean Up the Lake
Clean Up the Lake is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fight back against plastic and all forms of pollution in the global environment, both on land and under the surface, starting with Lake Tahoe and the Cayes in Belize. Our flagship project, the 72-mile clean up, is the first ever man powered circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe using SCUBA. This project will be accompanied by a large-scale trash clean-up of every inch of the 72-mile sub-surface shoreline. In addition to our presenting sponsor Tahoe Blue Vodka working with Tahoe Fund, Vail Resorts, NDSL Lake Tahoe License Plate Program, additional grant funding agencies for this project included Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation in association with Martis Fund, Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation and American Century Championship. Learn more and donate to our other causes at cleanupthelake.org.
About Nevada Division of State Lands - Lake Tahoe License Plate program
Administered by the Nevada Division of State Lands through the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team, since 1998, Nevada Lake Tahoe License Plate (NV-LTLP) sales and annual renewal fees have been invested in projects that help protect, restore, and enhance Lake Tahoe's unique natural environment. Projects funded directly through the NV-LTLP program range from water quality initiatives and state park improvements, to research and monitoring studies, invasive species surveys and removal, climate change research, and public education efforts. To date, the NV-LTLP program has generated over $9 million, funding over 165 preservation and restoration projects on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. All Nevadans can help preserve and protect Lake Tahoe by purchasing a Lake Tahoe license plate for $61 with an annual renewal fee of $30. Learn more: lands.nv.gov/tahoeplate
About the Tahoe Fund
The Tahoe Fund was founded in 2010 to work with the community to support environmental improvement projects that restore lake clarity, enhance sustainable recreation, promote healthier forests, improve transportation and inspire greater stewardship of the region. Through the generous support of private donors, the Tahoe Fund has leveraged more than $10 million in private funds to secure more than $60 million in public funds for more than 60 environmental projects. The projects include new sections of the Lake Tahoe Bikeway, restoration of watersheds, removal of aquatic invasive species, forest health projects, new hiking trails, and stewardship programs. Learn more at www.tahoefund.org.
About Tahoe Blue Vodka
Founded in 2012 by Matt Levitt, Tahoe Blue Vodka is inspired by and crafted with Tahoe sourced water. Using a unique 3-vodka blend of grapes, corn and sugarcane, this expertly crafted spirit is gluten-free and known for its clean, crisp taste and smooth finish, giving consumers a taste of the Tahoe lifestyle year-round. Originally sold out of the back of Levitt’s car, the brand is now the fastest-growing vodka brand in California. Since its conception, the brand has won numerous spirit competition awards including a Gold Award in the SUNSET 2021 Inaugural Spirit Awards Program, a Double Gold Medal in the "Best Domestic Vodka" category by The Fifty Best in 2020 and a 2020 SUNSET International Spirits Competition Gold Award. Through its parent company, Tahoe Spirits, Inc., Tahoe Blue Vodka has already donated over $200K of its proceeds to organizations that work to protect Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment. For more information, visit tahoebluevodka.com.
Additional partners on the 72 Mile Clean Up include Vail Resorts Epic Promise, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation & the Martis Fund, Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation, and American Century Championship.