TERC's Research

UC Davis at Lake Tahoe

UC Davis has played a leadership role in research efforts at Lake Tahoe for almost half a century. With funding from federal, state, local, and private sources, TERC continues to address a broad range of research than spans the land, air, and water. Our research is rapidly transferred and disseminated to the public through our active public education and outreach programs. Through partnerships and collaborations with resource agencies, we are providing the science to guide the better management of Lake Tahoe.

The Impact of TERC's Research

  • Long term clarity record: This has been the gold standard for measuring the degradation and restoration of Lake Tahoe.
  • Identifying the sources of clarity-reducing pollutants: The majority of particulate pollutants that contribute to reduced lake clarity come from urban watersheds, that cover only 10 percent of the land area. Such knowledge underlies management strategies by resource agencies.
  • Controlling invasive species: Oxygen-depriving barriers placed in the lake reduce the local Asian Clam population.
  • Detecting the effects of climate change: Since 1968 lake temperatures have warmed, peak snow melt has advanced by an average of 2 weeks, and the base of the food chain is changing in response.
  • Understanding a complex ecosystem: Real-time sensors provide immediate information on water quality changes and the driving forces behind them.
  • Sophisticated modeling tools: The predictive capacity of our models allows for better planning for future changes and greater preparedness for emerging challenges.
  • State of the Lake Report: Since 2007, TERC has published an annual summary of its research and documented the long-term changes to the lake. The annual State of the Lake report provides the science that federal, state, and local government agencies use to assess the lake's health and make management decisions.