Have you ever walked down the street during a rainstorm, and seen the buildup of water filled with debris, trash, and oil running down the side of the road? In the Lake Tahoe Basin, the only place for that polluted water to go is straight into the lake. Sadly, this has caused the infamous clarity of Lake Tahoe to dramatically decrease during the last century.
Before development, storm water and snow melt was absorbed into the ground, and then naturally filtered through the soil, resulting in clean water finding its way into the lake. However, pavement, houses, compacted soil, and other impervious surfaces now cover much of the ground in the basin, causing a rapid flow of water runoff, which is unable to filter through the ground first before reaching the lake.
Best Management Practices, or BMP’s, are put in place to try to reverse this rapid runoff. BMPs are placed in areas of high water runoff, such as along rooflines, in driveways, and parking lots. Vegetation, sediment traps, and rocks are used to create a permeable surface, which will allow water to flow into the earth rather than straight into Lake Tahoe.