October 2018
September was a busy month
with Markleeville Creek Day, Bear Valley Lake Day, and the departure of AmeriCorps Members Julia Keane and Marina Vance. A huge thank you to all who volunteered and to the organizations and businesses who supported Creek Day. Click here for a list of outcomes, partners, and supporters.
Cyanobacteria Updates
On September 25, Watershed Coordinator Mo Loden accompanied Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board staff to inspect reports of harmful algal blooms (HAB) at Wet Meadow Reservoir and Red Lake. Upon arriving at Wet Meadow Reservoir many indicators of cyanobacteria, such as surface scum, discolored pea-green colored water, and dried algae along shoreline and rocks, were observed. A grab sample was collected and sent for lab analysis. Results concluded cyanobacteria was present but was not a cyanotoxin producing strain.

Cyanobacteria naturally exist in most ecosystems, including water, soil, and rocks, and when provided the right conditions can develop into a bloom from excessive growth. Blooms, if stimulated enough, can decrease water quality but are only considered an immediate threat to human and animal health if emitting toxins. 

Follow-up monitoring was conducted at Red Lake due to a reported and confirmed HAB earlier in the month. The Water Board environmental scientist who responded to the initial Red Lake HAB incident on September 6 was present and able to comment on how the bloom’s surface scum density had decreased considerably in two and a half weeks. Due to limited Water Board funding for HAB monitoring and the favorable growing conditions for HABs decreasing, no further lab analysis was done. Visual monitoring will be conducted at Red Lake through the fall season. 

Please consider donating to support AWG’s 2019 HAB Monitoring Program to assist the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board’s efforts to help keep Alpine County a beautiful, pristine, and safe place!

PPCP Monitoring Project
AWG launched a new monitoring project this past spring and wrapped up the first season with our third sampling event last week. The purpose of this monitoring project is to assess the presence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) within the secondary treated wastewater effluent system that travels from South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District’s facility to Harvey Place Reservoir and downstream. PPCPs and CECs represent human bio-indicators that may impact aquatic organisms or agriculture. For more details about the project and the first sample event’s results see the full report here

Hope Valley Lands Pass Status
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently initiated a Lands Pass fee for parking areas on CDFW property in Hope Valley. AWG wrote a letter in support of the Alpine County Board of Supervisors petition requesting that the Hope Valley Unit be removed from the Lands Pass requirement.  AWG seeks to increase public use and appreciation of the public lands of the valley, and we find that the Lands Pass is a deterrent to these public goals. Read AWG’s letter here. It is not too late to submit letters to the Board of Supervisors for inclusion with their petition.
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Upcoming Events

AWG Adopt-A-Highway Day
Saturday, October 20, 1-3 p.m. Meet at the Markleeville Library. AWG is partnerning with California Alps Cycling who has adopted the adjacent stretch of highway from the USFS campground to near Turtle Rock Park. The AWG adopted highway area is from the USFS campground just outside of Markleeville to the bottom of Monitor Pass. Please bring water and wear sturdy shoes. ***Event will cancel if raining or snowing.***

Alpine County Fall Clean-Up Day
Saturday, October 20, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Alpine County Public Works Yard — Let’s all do our part to keep our watershed clean by properly disposing of unwanted items!

Accepted Materials
Residential household garbage, metal, paint, plastic, paper, treated wood waste, mattresses, washers, dryers, water heaters, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, computers, monitors, and intact TVs.
Not Accepted
Dirt, cement, stumps or similar debris, construction debris and construction site clearing debris or slash, commercial business garbage/waste/debris, chemicals, batteries, light bulbs, or tires.
For more information click here or call Alpine County Community Development at 530-694-2140.

Save the date for the next Watershed Group Meeting
Tuesday, November 13, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Hung a Lel Ti Woodfords Indian Education Center — Join AWG for an educational rock talk by David Griffith and Peggy Ristorcelli, local geologists, as they present Alpine County, Where It Came From and How It Formed, a Short Geologic History of the Last 175 Million Years. See flyer.
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