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Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California

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Three California cabinet members and heads of 19 state departments went to Lake Tahoe Aug. 4 for a presentation dealing with the lake's environmental problems. Tribal representatives were present. The states says there is a crisis despite 32 years of erosion-control improvements, land-use regulations and pacts between California and Nevada to preserve the lake's transparency. The depth of clarity continues to decline about a foot a year. As the lake gets greener, the forests get grayer from dehydration and insect infestation. Pollution from cars driven by 23 million annual visitors and 50,000 year-round residents is mainly to blame. It ends up in the lake with runoff from fertilizers, silt and other urban debris, stimulating growth of algae that cloud the lake. The latest strategy for at least slowing the decline, is a 10-year program of erosion-control improvements and land acquisitions for preservation requiring more than $900 million from state, federal and local governments. Charles Goldman, a scientist at the University of California, Davis, said the gathering was the most impressive show of unity in his 30 years of monitoring the water quality and political battles at the lake. Altogether, the $900 million program represents a hard-won consensus among developers, lakefront owners, regulators and environmentalists.

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