Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Remember Bonanza? Well, Forget It.

by Duane Craig

Lake Tahoe erosion due to human development?
It is a telling and sometimes sad fact that no matter where we humans go we wreak havoc with the environment. Most of the time it isn’t intentional, it’s just that we operate from a disjointed perception of our place in nature that places us as a dominator rather than as a participant. Now, nearby the place where the Ponderosa Ranch of 60s fame featured in the television series Bonanza reopened our eyes to unspoiled natural beauty, we have more proof of just how much our activities affect the earth.

Since the late 1960s the clarity of Lake Tahoe has gradually eroded due to development along its banks that cause soil runoff and pollution to enter the lake. A new plan was recently announced to cut that pollution by a third over the next 15 years. The total project will span 65 years and is expected to restore the lake to the point where visibility will extend 100 feet below the water’s surface. Currently it is clear 70 feet down.
There were only about 10,000 people living near the lake in the 1950s, but today there are 54,000. They come with all of their necessary modern conveniences like flush toilets, vehicles, driveways, asphalt-shingled roofs, roads and manicured landscapes that use pesticides and herbicides to stay pretty. The marshes and wetlands, the cleaners of runoff, have been paved over. Some say, the lake still doesn’t stand a chance given the pro-development attitudes in the area.

Read the story here.

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