Area Description: Known as the "Jewel of the Sierra", Lake Tahoe is designated as an Outstanding National Resource Water, which is a special designation under the Clean Water Act, because of its historic clarity and water quality. In 2010, the New Millennium Dive Expeditions (NMDE) team began a focused effort to document the true condition of the lake by reporting underwater conditions personally observed at specific locations while submerged from the nearshore down to 450 feet.
In 2002, NMDE divers received regional recognition by successfully completing a technical dive to the SS Tahoe, which was scuttled in 1940. This ambitious high elevation, deep water documentation of the SS Tahoe lead to it's official listing as a Historic Landmark on the United States National Register of Historic Landmarks. The team's reputation as a competent, well organized, and safe group of divers grew over the years and prompted the team to engage in a sorely needed citizen scientist underwater documentation initiative by establishing a formal collaboration with Project Baseline.
In 2011, the team installed four observation Stations at key locations around the lake at depths ranging between 25-75 feet. Each Station provides the team, as well as all Lake Tahoe divers, analog and temperature depth gauges and standardized visibility measurement system. Each Station is visited on a regular basis by divers. Underwater conditions are recorded and upload to the Project Baseline database and in the near future, will provide the public with a consistent and regular record of lake visibility.
During 2012-2013, the team established a formal relationship with University of Nevada, Reno limnologists who are conducting research on flora and fauna whose populations serve as key indicators of lake clarity. NMDE divers received funding sufficient to conduct as series of dives in the southern portion of the lake and were tasked with the retrieval and planting of native plant samples at depths that exceed the capacity of local research divers. "Working with the New Millennium and Project Baseline divers allows the scientists at my University (Nevada) to look at the mechanisms of decline with the hope that we can prevent the extinction of these unique creatures. My laboratory staff and I am grateful for the relationship we are developing with our diving partners." - Dr. Sudeep Chandra, Associate Professor, Limnology & Conservation Ecology, University of Nevada, Reno. Read more about the team's recent execution of the first shallow water circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe.
Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe
volunteer divers look forward to continue monitoring their observation Stations and working with local academic and environmental management agencies in an effort to provide objective documentation of seldom visited underwater areas of the Lake. Read more about the team's latest efforts by downloading the September 2015 Reno News and Review article at the bottom of this page.
A list of 2014 collaborators is available for download as a PDF at the bottom of this page.