Clean Up the Lake completes 72-mile underwater cleanup of Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ‚— The Clean Up the Lake dive team which embarked on an extraordinary effort to recover submerged trash along the 72 miles of Lake Tahoe shoreline – launched May 14, 2021 – has officially completed the project. In total, the dive team collected 24,797 pieces of trash, bringing the total weight removed to 25,281 pounds.

The project was made possible by a $100,000 matching gift from Tahoe Blue Vodka, contributions from more than 135 Tahoe Fund donors, including Vail Resorts, and the Nevada Division of State Lands’ Lake Tahoe License Plate program. and other local foundations.

“Over the past year, despite winter weather, COVID and wildfire challenges, our dive team has been in the water at every opportunity to complete this unforgettable effort,” said Colin. West, founder and executive director of Clean Up the Lake. “While the dive team removed many expected and unexpected elements along the way, we hope people will eventually remember how long a group of individuals were willing to go to protect their home and their planet. , and in turn people should ask themselves how they choose to contribute to the preservation of our environment today.

Cleanup the Lake used 626 cylinders of air in 81 days of diving.
Mike Peron/Tahoe Daily Tribune

As the divers circled the lake, they recovered not just plastic bottles, cans and other “typical” trash, but items including engagement rings, 1980s Nikon cameras, street lamps whole, “no littering” signs, massive pieces of broken down boats. and engine blocks, lost wallets, cordless home phones, a Blackberry mobile phone, and more.

“Tahoe Blue Vodka sponsored this effort because we care deeply about the health of Lake Tahoe, not only because our vodka is inspired by its waters, but also because it is such an integral part of what makes our community so special,” said Matt Levitt. , founder of Tahoe Blue Vodka. “The perseverance of the dive team and volunteers who never gave up, and their commitment to continuing the cleanup efforts of Lake Tahoe and other waterways in our area is inspiring.”

Clean Up the Lake will work with scientific institutions and environmental consultants to study recovered waste to better understand its impact on Lake Tahoe. Additionally, the Tahoe Fund, with support from Tahoe Blue Vodka, recently announced that it has commissioned artists to create a sculpture using some of the objects salvaged from the lake. “Surfaced,” a permanent art installation, will be featured at the new Tahoe South Events Center to educate visitors about what lies beneath Tahoe’s blue waters.

“When we began the fundraising effort for this project, we knew it had the potential to have an incredible impact on the health of Lake Tahoe,” said Allen Biaggi, board member of the Tahoe Fund. “The individual and corporate donors who have helped make this project a reality have clearly demonstrated what Lake Tahoe means to them and that efforts like these are worthwhile. Congratulations to the Clean Up The Lake team for completing this historic project.

Clean Up the Lake is thrilled to announce that it will be performing cleanups on four lakes this year, starting next week. This will include intensive monitoring projects on Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake, a cleanup around Fallen Leaf Lake located in the Tahoe Basin, and an expansion to the Mammoth Lakes area for June Lake cleanup. West said: “I still don’t fully understand what our team has accomplished, the completion of this 72 mile cleanup is a testament to what our team is capable of, and we are just getting started.”

MJD Capital Partners and Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company are new project partners for Clean Up The Lake’s upcoming projects, while former donors including Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Blue Vodka, Nevada Division of State Lands Lake Tahoe License Plate program, Martis Fund, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation, Alpenglobal Capital and others continue to support their efforts.

Despite current support, Clean Up the Lake 2022 projects require additional funding. to donate, visit

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