8,183 LBS of small litter removed & thousands of pounds of heavier trash GPS marked for later removal

ZEPHYR COVE, NV – September 22, 2020 – Clean Up the Lake, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has removed 8,183 pounds of trash from Donner Lake & Lake Tahoe. Beginning in July 2020, the Clean Up The Lake dive teams completed a circumnavigated SCUBA clean up of Donner Lake, covering every inch of the 8-mile shoreline at depths of 0-25 feet, removing all the smaller trash they could find that resulted in 5,151.5 pounds of trash removed from Donner Lake compared to 3,032 pounds of trash removed from the depths of Lake Tahoe. Other than 371 pounds of Lake Tahoe’s SCUBA trash count, all of this trash was removed since June of 2020.

Clean Up The Lake has worked with staff & volunteers this summer to further develop their strategic approach of SCUBA cleanups that involve teams of divers, free divers & snorkelers, surface support on kayaks, zodiacs, jet skis, and of course, boats. A portion of this trash came from a six-mile cleanup of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe sub-surface shoreline yielding 2,238 pounds of Trash from popular areas like Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove, Secret beach, and areas near Incline Village. This cleanup was funded by the License Plate Grant from Nevada Division of State Lands & a sub-grant by NV Department of Environmental protection and the United States Environmental protection Agency (EPA).


Clean Up The Lake’s Founder & Executive Director Colin West is not only leading these dives to remove this trash, yet is also currently working with microplastics research teams from UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and Desert Research Insitute (DRI) to better understand the issue at hand so that in the future the organization can do more than pick up the trash, but address the plastic & litter issue at its root. During this summer’s cleanups, West and his team used an archeological surveying software called the Wildnote App. This allows divers to GPS pinpoint areas of interest such as trash hot spots, areas with heavier items that need a winch or crane to be removed, and historical items left behind where the organization ensures to notify proper authorities with the GPS data + photographs. “In comparison to next year’s 72-mile SCUBA clean up of Lake Tahoe, these smaller-scale clean ups allowed us to practice our craft & fine-tune our strategies, while also removing a substantial amount of trash from both Lake Tahoe & Donner Lake,” said West. “Our organization now feels even more ready for what awaits us on the 72-mile SCUBA clean up next year”.

On September 23, 2020, Clean Up the Lake, UC Davis TERC, and DRI will be sorting and categorizing the 2,248 pounds of trash. They will then use the data to develop educational programs, better inform policymakers, spread public awareness on items that need to be reduced, so they do not make back into the lake & so much more. As a non-profit organization, Clean Up the Lake depends on donations to continue fighting the good fight. They give thanks to the Truckee Community & local businesses like Mountain Hardware & Sports & Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company, who sponsored their efforts. Clean Up The Lake also has an Adopt a Mile program where individual or business donors can sponsor one full mile of Lake Tahoe’s clean up efforts and explore other partnership & donation opportunities. Be a part of the solution and visit www.cleanupthelake.org/donate to pledge your support. For more information, please contact the Executive Director Colin West at (530) 562-7131 or [email protected].


About Clean Up the Lake: Clean Up the Lake is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to do a full 72-mile SCUBA clean up of the Lake Tahoe sub-surface shoreline. The organization performs litter clean up and collects research & data to better fight back against litter & plastic pollution above and below the surface of our waterways, beginning with Lake Tahoe & Belize.