Evaluation of Nearshore Ecology and Aesthetics

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DHS Susfalk, Richard B 08/01/2010 - 09/30/2012 USDA - Forest Service

Project Description

The nearshore environment of a lake ecosystem often remains a poorly studied area despite its importance to overall biodiversity and function of the lake. This is also true for Lake Tahoe where the nearshore environment also possesses important aesthetic and economic significance for tourism as visitor and resident interactions with the lake occur primarily in the nearshore. While there have been potential improvements to the open water habitat (e.g. clarity) of the lake, basin managers are now turning their attention to understanding nearshore processes. The objective of this proposal is to provide basin management agencies with science-based recommendations for the development of a long-term management and monitoring program for Lake Tahoe's nearshore environment. In particular, this study will focus on the evaluation of environmental indicators that can be used by managers to assess if nearshore desired conditions are being attained. We propose to review and synthesize existing nearshore science, management objectives, and current conditions in order to develop a conceptual model that relates nearshore environmental processes with the desired conditions identified by basin management agencies. Potential indicators will be evaluated for their scientific relevance, feasibility for implementation, and their ability to support management objectives. Scientifically defensible numeric or narrative standards will be suggested where possible. Lastly, a monitoring plan based on these indicators will be developed that addresses the natural temporal and spatial variability found within the nearshore environment.