Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $97,000 for projects to address microplastic pollution in Lake Tahoe.
“I’m delighted to see these funds go to studying the problem of microplastics at Lake Tahoe, and supporting the excellent research of scientists and community leaders working to address it. I’ll keep working in the U.S. Senate to keep Lake Tahoe’s waters clean and support the communities that depend on this vital cultural touchstone for Nevadans.”
Senator Cortez Masto has been a steadfast advocate for Lake Tahoe, hosting the 24th annual Tahoe Summit in August of 2020. At the summit, Senator Cortez Masto discussed the threat from microplastics to the lake with Dr. Monica Arienzo of the Desert Research Institute. She has also cosponsored and voted for the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, which will help maintain and permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to invest in public lands and support Nevada’s outdoor recreation industry.
Microplastics are small plastic debris that can escape into the environment. They have been detected in drinking water in multiple locations worldwide and can be ingested by wildlife. In Lake Tahoe’s case, improperly disposed litter on the lake’s beaches is believed to be the primary source of plastic pollution. The EPA grants to address this pollution will fund projects including a study led by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) to gather more data on the movement and types of plastics in Lake Tahoe, as well as a public education-focused source reduction pilot project led by the Incline Village General Improvement District, in partnership with the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association and others. Both projects are managed by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) with the aim of reducing sources of plastic pollution.