University of Nevada, Reno – Nearshore Monitoring Project – 2 meter plant bed survey

Today, New Millennium (NMDE) divers, Martin M. and Marc B., in support of Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe joined forces with research scientist, Annie Caires of the University of Nevada Reno to help gather further plant species and plant bed data in Lake Tahoe.  Last year, NMDE was asked by UNR’s Principal Investigator, Sudeep Chandra, to participate in UNR’s College of Sciences, Lake Tahoe Nearshore Community Structure Pilot Monitoring Project.  What we were asked to do was to circumnavigate Tahoe at a depth of 5 meters (16 feet) – Press ReleaseNewspaper Article.  

Completing the circumnavigation dives in 2014 and uncovering several plant beds in the South Lake Tahoe area, it was decided to do another survey at a shallower depth.  This time at 2 meters (6 feet) and start from Baldwin Beach, the location of our first plant bed found from last year’s survey, all the way to Ski Run Marina where we located our last plant bed.
The GPS track of today’s 2 meter plant bed survey.

Our day began at 7:30am at the Cave Rock boat launch (the only boat launch open on the Nevada side of the lake due to the extremely low lake levels as a result of our 4 year drought!)  The crew from UNR, Annie and Robert hauled up our water transportation, the Limnos Lady, we loaded and departed for the west end of Baldwin Beach.  Our plan for the day was to utilize our tow-sled and drag one diver along the surface switching every hour or so.  Along the way, when the diver in the water spotted plants, we would stop the boat, take a GPS reading, delineate the extent of that plant bed and then take some samples.
Marc being towed –
Look for the white just behind the red/yellow float
We were not surprised by what we saw but we did uncover one invasive plant species bed, Curlyleaf Pondweed, due north of the eastern entrance to the Tahoe Keys Marina.  Mostly what we found was native Chara and Milfoil beds but nothing of any notable size; not like the plant beds found deeper with the largest bed found off Camp Richardson.  The Camp Richardson plant bed, we delineated in 2013, extends from 24 meters (80 feet) out to 46 meters (150 feet) and is over three quarters of a mile in area.

We covered about 5.5 miles and completed a very thorough evaluation of bottom plants from Baldwin Beach all the way to Ski Run Marina. 

The Pea Green water off Tahoe Keys –
This is not Lake Tahoe?
Of note, seems the Tahoe Keys is doing some dredging which just destroyed the visibility and as you will see in the photos, made the water look a pea green.  We also found an old barge that sunk and was resting in about 3 meters (10 feet), a petrified tree stump (this one grew during the 100 year drought a long time ago), counted over 10 engine blocks in the Camp Richardson area and retrieved one bottle and a golf ball!  

To see more photos and to be more efficiently notified of NMDE and PBLT events, join us on Facebook and put our New Millennium Dive Expeditions page onto your list of “LIKES”.   Thanks!