USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Scientific research to improve the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin

The Tahoe Science Program receives funding through the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) to conduct science to inform efforts to restore Lake Tahoe and its watershed, as authorized in the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) assumed responsibility in 2006 (Round 7 of SNPLMA) for sponsoring science projects using SNPLMA funds. The PSW Station established a competitive grant award program with a rigorous peer review process coordinated by the Tahoe Science Consortium, a collection of universities and agencies with active research programs at Lake Tahoe.

Projects by Round
[or browse all projects]

Tahoe Science Consortium

What's New
Round 12 Tahoe Science Program Proposal Selection Announcement - PSW is initiating 17 new applied science projects.
Priority Research Issues and projects designed to address them

Air Quality Air pollutants pose threats to health of humans and forests at Lake Tahoe, as well as to the clarity of the lake itself. Research is underway to evaluate these impacts and develop appropriate treatments.

Climate Change New and expanding tools are needed to inform policymakers about how future climate change will specifically affect the Lake Tahoe basin and provide information that can lead to proactive policy alternatives.

Forest Fuels and Vegetation Management Forest treatments, including prescribed burning, are planned to reduce wildfire hazards. Research is underway to evaluate how both treatments and wildfires can affect values such as air quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat.

Habitat Improvement Research is helping to better understand the special management needs of species and ecological communities that are particularly rare or vulnerable in the Tahoe basin.

Lake Quality To "Keep Tahoe Blue" is a primary goal in the Tahoe basin. A specific objective is to reverse the long-term decline in open-water clarity. Lake quality is also threatened by the spread of attached algae (periphyton) and non-native organisms.

Stormwater Management Fine sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants, particularly from urban areas and roads, pose major threats to the clarity of Lake Tahoe. Research is helping to design best management practices (BMPs) to prevent these pollutants from entering downstream waterways.

Stream Restoration Research is helping to design projects to restore stream geomorphic and ecological functions, including retention of fine sediments and enhancement of habitat for plants and animals.

Science Integration The Tahoe Science Consortium conducts workshops and provides technical assistance to apply current research to challenges facing management agencies within the Tahoe Basin.

Science Update Report

View the 2011 Tahoe Science Update Report. The report provides an overview of completed, current, and new research projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The report focuses on research projects supported by the Tahoe Science Program through funding from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) administered by the Bureau of Land Management and projects funded through the Nevada Division of State Lands Lake Tahoe License Plate Program. The report also identifies the Round 12 science themes and subthemes pending approval by the Secretary of the Interior as well priority research issues for agencies in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Request for Proposals

PSW has released the Tahoe Science Program Round 12 Request for Proposals. Please read the full announcement for instructions on how to submit a proposal. This opportunity is also posted on www.

Process for Selecting Projects
  • In the fall, the Secretary of the Interior approves the SNPLMA package.
  • PSW submits a request for proposals to address the research needs.
  • Researchers submit proposals to address the research needs.
  • TSC peer review process (click here for more details):
    • Independent scientists review the proposals for scientific merit and effectiveness.
    • Representatives of management agencies evaluate the relevancy of the proposals to the environmental challenges that they face.
    • The peer review committee recommends projects to be funded based upon scientific quality, relevancy, and funding availability.
  • PSW funds projects based on recommendations from the TSC peer review committee.

The "Guidance for Tahoe SNPLMA Science Researchers" is available to guide both prospective and currently funded investigators regarding administrative aspects of the program, including permitting, reporting, and publishing.

Science Issues

The Tahoe Science Consortium convenes a panel of scientists along with representatives of management agencies who collaboratively generate an annual list of research priorities, or science themes, ultimately approved by the Secretary of Interior.

For more information, contact Tiffany van Huysen, Tahoe Science Program Coordinator

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM