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If you’ve walked along Lake Tahoe’s beaches, you have probably spotted them: stormdrains discharging dirty water to Lake Tahoe from surrounding land areas. While stormdrains have the very practical and necessary function of draining water away from urban lands to prevent flooding, they often have the unintended effect of conveying pollution, such as sediment, nutrients, and trash. Left untreated, this pollution impacts Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe RCD manages the Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSWMP). RSWMP monitors urban stormwater runoff entering the lake for nutrients and sediments. Most pollutants come from urban areas, especially roads. There are seven jurisdictions around the lake that must comply with regulations established to reduce pollutant loading to the lake.
The goal of RSWMP is to ensure that the seven jurisdictions are meeting regulatory requirements. Data collected by RSWMP can be used to assesses the cumulative effect of environmental improvement projects and better management practices on stormwater quality.
Monitoring stormwater runoff at specific sites over the long-term evaluates whether everything the jurisdictions have done to decrease pollutants to the lake is having the desired effect.