Tahoe Environmental Research Center

Tahoe Environmental Research Center

The Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on lakes and their surrounding watersheds and airsheds. Lake ecosystems include the physical, biogeochemical and human environments, and the interactions among them. The Center is committed to providing objective scientific information for restoration and sustainable use of the Lake Tahoe Basin.



Lake Tahoe Water Clarity Holds Steady

1968 - 2013 Lake Tahoe Annual Average Secchi Depth

Clarity levels within the iconic blue waters of Lake Tahoe continued a decade-long trend of stabilization in 2013, according to University of California, Davis, scientists who study the lake. Data released today by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency reported the average annual clarity level for 2013 at 70.1 feet. [more...]


State of Climate Change Report 2013

Climate Rules!

The 21st century climate is expected to impact the air temperature, amount and type of precipitation, stream discharge, sediment and nutrient loading, lake temperature, lake mixing, water quality, biodiversity and aquatic invasive species.

Tahoe: The State of Climate Change 2013”, highlights and summarizes some of the key findings drawn from the “Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2013.” The research conducted to date has highlighted the huge changes that future climatic conditions may exert on our freshwater ecosystems. [more...]

State of the Lake 2013 - Clarity, climate and new technologies

State of the Lake

While clarity improved at Lake Tahoe for a second straight year in 2012, long-term trends show that climate change is impacting the Lake Tahoe Basin, with drier years, less precipitation, higher lake temperatures and projected lower lake levels.

These conclusions are found within the lake’s annual health exam, “Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2013,” by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.[more...]


Scientists present approach for evaluating and monitoring Lake Tahoe’s nearshore

Lake Tahoe Nearshore Diagram

Scientists presented research findings and recommendations to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board that address Lake Tahoe’s aquatic nearshore environment and the heightened interest in understanding factors contributing to its apparent deterioration.

The Lake Tahoe Nearshore Evaluation and Monitoring Framework, a project funded during Round 10 of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act in 2010, was prepared for the USDA Forest Service by more than a dozen scientists and technical advisers from the Desert Research Institute, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of California, Davis...[more...]


New Exhibits at Science Center

New Shaping Watersheds Interactive Sandbox Exhibit

The new “Shaping Watersheds Interactive Sandbox” will join the research vessel, laboratory and award-winning 3D movie “Lake Tahoe in Depth” to provide guests with the latest Lake Tahoe research. Watch a video of the new exhibit here. The Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 - 5 p.m. Visit the UC Davis Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center on VTour. [more...]

Lake Surface Currents

Lake Surface Currents

While the surface of Lake Tahoe can often appear deceptively calm and quiet, it is actually very dynamic. Here a three-dimensional computer model has been used to simulate the surface currents of the lake for a 2-1/2 day period during the summer. The currents are “driven” by the wind. [more...]

Lake surface current animation (6.5 MB, QuickTime) is available at http://terc.ucdavis.edu/video/vectors_and_uniform_particles_wborder.mov.




3-D Movie "Lake Tahoe in Depth" Available at Science Education Center

Lake Tahoe In Depth Trailer

Visit the Thomas J. Long Foundation Education Center in Incline Village to see the 3-D movie "Lake Tahoe in Depth" or "Mapping Change" now available in the 3-D Visualization Theater. You can see into the lake, under the water, and around the watershed. Lake Tahoe is affected by many impacts including urbanization, loss of clarity, invasive species and climate change. This tour provides the underlying geologic history of the basin for a better understanding of these issues. Come see it in 3-D or watch a low resolution, 2-D version of the movie (0:15:39) here.