The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association will be hosting a Pipe Keepers Introductory Training at our Pavilion on December 7th from 2:00-4:00 P.M.
Pipe Keepers is a citizen science program to monitor water quality and combat fine sediment pollution, the largest contributor to clarity loss in Lake Tahoe. The program relies on community involvement to help identify, monitor and prioritize the worst pipes and pollutant loads around Lake Tahoe. Through the Pipe Keepers program The League to Save Lake Tahoe has analyzed over 1,800 storm water samples from 24 pipes around Lake Tahoe. Trained community members, with the help from League staff, have been able to bring attention and advocate for solutions to the pipes that carry sediment, fertilizers and detergents into Lake Tahoe. This program is one of the many that the League offers to help raise awareness about issues impacting Lake Tahoe and promote citizen science within the basin.
Much of the storm water infrastructure in the basin was put in place before planners realized the impact it has on the lake. Therefore, many of the storm-drains that we see along roadways and sidewalks run directly into the lake carrying all the road grit, grease, debris, and the many other pollutants found on roadways with it. One of the biggest concerns to Lake Tahoe is fine sediment which can be attributed to many sources including vehicle traffic on roadways that grinds up the asphalt and sand into fine particles. What the Pipe Keepers program does, with the help of its many volunteers, is track the level of fine sediment found in water flowing out of pipes around the basin. This helps identify problem areas so that the agencies in charge can take action to curb the amount of pollutants flowing into Lake Tahoe and its tributaries.
In the Tahoe Keys there are over 200 storm drains that lead to pipes flowing directly into the waterways. This means that anything that drains onto the road, not to mention direct runoff from properties, is likely going to end up in the waterways, which is why it is so important to monitor runoff in the neighborhoods and promote awareness about ways we can all help out. Due to the amount of storm drains and pipes that we have within our area, the Water Quality Department and the rest of the staff at the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association are asking for volunteers to help our community combat this problem.
There are several participation levels for the program including Watershed Watcher, Pipe Assistant, and Pipe Keeper. The Watershed Watcher looks at the big picture in their neighborhood by keeping an eye out for clogged storm drains, pollutant runoff from driveways, excessive runoff causing bank erosion, and anything else that may have an impact on water quality. They also help to spread the word and educate others by talking about what it is they are doing while they are doing it. One of the biggest ways we can help fight pollution is by raising awareness. The Pipe Assistant helps with monitoring a pipe by assisting or filling in for the Pipe Keeper when needed. The Pipe Keepers take samples from the pipe, record data, and drop everything off at the League office for analysis.
The League wishes to continue its partnership with the Tahoe Keys and in the future develop the Pipe Keepers program further to help track nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus. For more information on how you can help protect our waterways please visit Keeptahoeblue.org or stop by the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s main office on Lake Tahoe Blvd.