Identifying Natural Resources Most Sensitive to the 2012 - 2015 Drought in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Looking out from the Truckee River Outlet Dam in Tahoe City toward Lake Tahoe and the headwaters of the Truckee River.

Drought occurs regularly in the Lake Tahoe basin; however, the 2012 -2015 drought was one of the most severe on record for low snowpacks and high temperature.  The multi-faceted effects of the recent drought on natural resources have yet to be quantified, which reduces the ability to adapt preservation and restoration management actions to future droughts.

NAES scientists are synthesizing existing monitoring observations and remote sensing datasets from various sources in order to 1) quantify variability in drought sensitivity of streamflow, forest health, and water quality and habitat across the basin and 2) identify the factors that increase drought sensitivity.  The expected outcomes from this project will aid natural resource managers by helping to focus management actions on the most at risk areas and resources during ongoing and future drought.