Lake Tahoe is clearer now than it has been in a decade. Researchers say that's partly because of work to protect the lake, but also because of the drought.
The number that represents the clarity of Lake Tahoe is an average of 28 measurements, taken at various times during the year. Measurements are taken by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and released by the Center and by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Last year clarity improved by a depth of 7.5 feet from 2013 to almost 78 feet. The highest clarity reading was 93.5 feet last July. The lowest was just over 57 feet in September.
The Research Center credits decades of concerted efforts to restore the Tahoe area and reduce contaminant runoff.
But it also says the increased clarity is partly the result of the drought. Little or no snow in the Sierra has meant less runoff carrying fewer pollutants into the lake.
Researchers say the consequences of drier, warmer conditions for the future of Lake Tahoe are "still far from understood."