Last Updated on Thursday, 09 August 2012 06:02
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 00:00
Tahoe Science Conference 2012
Tahoe Science Conference at the Sierra Nevada College campus featured presentations and panel discussions on the theme Environmental Restoration in a Changing Climate.
May 25, 2012
The annual Tahoe Science Conference is a “meeting of the minds” that study, analyze and are at the cutting edge of understanding what is going on in the Tahoe Basin environment. Under the conference theme Environmental Restoration in a Changing Climate, sessions featured topics such as Understanding and Responding to Climate Change, Stormwater Pollution and Best Management Practices, Aquatic Invasive and Non-Native Species, Nearshore Ecology and Conservation and Upland Forest Ecosystems Ecology and Conservation. There were two panel discussions, one about Managing Redevelopment and the Environment and another about Sustainable Urban Agriculture. More than 350 scientists, environmental policy makers, stakeholders and students convened during the conference.
On the subject of aquatic invasive species eleven scientists spoke about everything from warm water fish to tiny, native midges. There are many non-native plants and animals that have made their way into Lake Tahoe in the past 150 years. Some of these were purposefully introduced, others accidentally. Some of these non-native species are the focus of resource managers because of their “ability to dramatically modify the character of a water body” says Lars Anderson whose career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has focused on invasive weeds.
The session Understanding and Responding to Climate Change featured seven speakers who discussed topics such as the vulnerability of groundwater to climate change and methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from the Tahoe Basin. The three primary sources of carbon dioxide emission in the Tahoe Basin are energy use, transportation and fuel combustion. In 2005 it is estimated that the Tahoe Basin contributed 1.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
With regard to stormwater management “we are making much better-informed decisions now than we were twenty years ago” says Jason Drew of Nichols Consulting Engineers. His comments indicate that the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) has been a “game changer”. “Now we have the science that tells us where the clarity problem is coming from and what is causing it. Now we are turning our attention to how to address the problem. We have tools to do this that we didn’t have before,” says Drew. Nicole Beck, principal at the environmental consulting firm Second Nature says, “Given what we know about pollutant generation and transport maintenance of existing infrastructure—that includes roads and existing capital improvement projects—is a huge issue”.
The conference is hosted by the Tahoe Science Consortium, Sierra Nevada College and the University of California – Davis, Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC). The conference was held at TERC on the Sierra Nevada College campus in Incline Village. A wide variety of topics were discussed at the Tahoe Science Conference. Tahoe Project will host podcasts of interviews with featured scientists from the conference during the month of June.
Tahoe Science Consortium | Conference Agenda