Lake Tahoe, long known for its famed clarity and brilliant blue waters has a dirty secret. Beneath the surface, thousands of pounds of trash are breaking apart and impacting the lakeâ€™s aquatic habitats. In 2021, an extraordinary effort to remove trash around all 72-miles of Lake Tahoe with a SCUBA dive team of professionals and volunteers will begin. Spearheaded by the nonprofit Clean Up The Lake, the Tahoe Fund has committed to raising funds needed to make it happen. Thanks to this generous partnership with Tahoe Blue Vodka, every dollar contributed to the project fund will be matched up to $100,000.
Last summer, the first phase of the effort resulted in the recovery of over 2,200 pounds of trash from just six miles of Lake Tahoe. Led by Colin West, Clean Up The Lake founder and executive director, the team of divers found everything from tires, golf balls, sunglasses, towels, plastic bottles and aluminum cans to iPhones, boat anchors and pieces of boats. Westâ€™s team noticed that trash has been accumulating untouched under the surface of the lake for decades and is committed to doing something about it. Watch the video here.
â€œWe started this project because we wanted to take action before itâ€™s too late,â€ said West. â€œPartnering with the Tahoe Fund to generate support for our efforts to clean up the lake has been incredibleâ€”particularly because of the contributions theyâ€™ve helped us generate from private donors and from local companies like Tahoe Blue Vodka who want to give back.â€
With his award-winning vodka made from the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Blue Vodkaâ€™s founder and CEO, Matt Levitt, has never been one to shy away from supporting organizations that help preserve the lake and its surrounding environment.
â€œFrom day one weâ€™ve donated a portion of our proceeds to support the ongoing efforts of organizations that work to protect Lake Tahoe,â€ said Levitt. â€œWhen the Tahoe Fund came to us with this opportunity to help clean up the lake, we didnâ€™t hesitateâ€”itâ€™s perfectly aligned with our brand promise and our ongoing commitment to give back to help maintain Lake Tahoeâ€™s clarity.â€
â€œWe are thrilled that Tahoe Blue Vodka wanted to help make this project happen,â€ said Paul Felton, Tahoe Fund board member. â€œMatt and his team have partnered with us to support a variety of projects over the past eight years that have made a positive environmental impact in the Tahoe Basin. The massive scale of this project and Tahoe Blue Vodkaâ€™s tremendous contribution makes this the most significant project weâ€™ve collaborated on to date.â€
The estimated project cost to clean up Lake Tahoe is $225,000. Learn more about the project, how to donate, and how to volunteer on dives at www.tahoefund.org.