The Tahoe City Field Station received a
major historical renovation in 2008-09.
The Great Room is a workspace for researchers.
The laboratory provides researchers a place to prepare and filter samples taken from the lake and West Shore streams.
Tahoe City Field Station
Eriksson Education Center
The UC Davis Tahoe City Field Station, also known as the “Historic Fish Hatchery”, is home to the Eriksson Education Center. The Eriksson Education Center, named in memory of Paul and Helen Eriksson, offers visitors the opportunity to discover the history of the former fish hatchery, visit the current field station, learn about research at Lake Tahoe, and much more! Numerous education and outreach events are scheduled in the future.
The Eriksson Education Center is open for self-guided tours during peak summer months from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with volunteer docents available for tours on Saturdays Memorial Day through Labor Day. Additional tour times are available upon request. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (775) 881-7566 to schedule a tour.
Follow the path to see wetlands and stream restoration projects and gardens of native Tahoe plants. Here you can see many plants that are native to this region. Native plants thrive here because they have adapted to the soil, climate, and pest species. You’ll find many ideas that you can use at home, too.
The native plant demonstration garden showcases various native Lake Tahoe plants in both upland and wetland areas and offer residents a beautiful way to have truly “green” landscaping. Plant identification signs within the butterfly garden, alternative groundcover area, upland and wetland plant areas will help you learn about the native species.
Field Station Research
The work done here today is vital for the study and protection of Lake Tahoe’s ecology.
Researchers using this field station study water clarity, identify and track nonnative species, monitor air quality and climate, investigate new approaches for treating polluted stormwater, and much more. In the lab, they filter water samples, dissect fish, and prepare and stage field experiments. Restoring the nearby wetlands and stream (Polaris Creek) provides a unique “living laboratory” for scientists, students, and the public. Click here for more information about UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center work.
The UC Davis Tahoe City Field Station building is used for preparation and staging of field experiments, equipment construction, and boat activities, and contains offices, a conference area, wet lab, scuba locker, workshop, storage and the Eriksson Education Center. The laboratory is used by staff researchers to filter water samples collected from the lake and West Shore streams. Water samples need to be filtered within 24 hours of collection (standard operating procedures) for quality control. This facility allows our staff to complete this task without driving to the main Incline Village lab.
Cultured ecology experiments will be conducted outdoors in the newly constructed test plot system. The test plot system provides field testing for alternative erosion control and water quality treatment options to compare fine sediment and nutrient removal efficiencies. Field testing compares vegetation types, infiltration, flow regimes, soil types, and soil amendments. One experiment uses “floating islands” of plants where the plant roots hang down into the water and urban stormwater is piped into the system. Testing on the inflow and outflow allows for comparison. The plants can take up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus and sticky biofilms on the plant roots actually trap the fine sediments that are one of the main culprits in the loss of clarity. By comparing different plant types and conducting these experiments through the year, researchers can determine the most effective treatment options and make sure that they can continue working throughout the seasons.
A new boat house located on the southeast corner of the property replaced the run-down Fish and Game warden’s house. UC Davis recently received a National Science Foundation grant which allowed us to purchase a high speed boat made by the Munson Boat Company. The new boat is 28 feet long, 8 feet 6 inches wide, can go 40 miles per hour with twin outboard engines and contains a winch that can reach to the bottom of the lake (a pulley system that the Secchi disk is attached to). The boat is used on Lake Tahoe as well as taken to other lakes for research projects. While the larger R/V John LeConte will continue to operate as the primary research vessel, this new boat can travel to South Lake Tahoe in as little as 20 minutes, allowing for faster access to the research buoys and other locations around the lake.
The research vessel was christened the “R/V Bob Richards” at the Hatchery Dedication event in 2008. It was named after Bob Richards, UC Davis’ retired boat captain, after 37 years of dedicated service. Bob worked for UC Davis from 1968 to 2005 and provided the eyes that documented the decline in lake clarity after countless Secchi disk measurements taken every 10 days. Bob was totally taken by surprise when the name of the boat was publicly announced at the dedication ceremony.
Renovation of the Tahoe City Field Station
UC Davis completed the $2.1 million renovation of the Tahoe City Field Station thanks to the generosity of the many private donors that contributed to the Campaign for Tahoe.
This renovation project was sensitive to the values and features of this historic building and included the following facility improvements:
- Earthquake retrofitting and structural improvements
- Demolition of existing walls/rooms inside building
- New roof
- New windows
- Replace cedar plank siding
- New field preparation lab
- New scuba locker
- New office and conference space
- Workroom for field work preparation
The historical renovation of the field station at Tahoe City symbolizes the work that UC Davis has been doing at Lake Tahoe. Both are part of the fabric of Lake Tahoe and help define its past and its future. By having a modern field station we can continue doing the field studies that have characterized our efforts over the decades. By having the associated interpretive center we can expand our efforts at communicating the results of our research to the public. Working in concert with the public and the management agencies in the basin is something we place a high priority on.