Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, covers about 192 square miles (mi2) of the 506-mi2 Lake Tahoe Basin, which straddles the border between California and Nevada (Fig. 1). In cooperation with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates the flood frequencies of the streams that enter the lake. Information about potential flooding of these streams is used by NDOT in the design and construction of roads and highways in the Nevada portion of the basin. The stream-monitoring network in the Lake Tahoe Basin is part of the Lake Tahoe Interagency Monitoring Program (LTIMP), which combines the monitoring and research efforts of various Federal, State, and regional agencies, including both USGS and NDOT. The altitude in the basin varies from 6,223 feet (ft) at the lake's natural rim to over 10,000 ft along the basin's crest. Precipitation ranges from 40 inches per year (in/yr) on the eastern side to 90 in/yr on the western side (Crippen and Pavelka, 1970). Most of the precipitation comes during the winter months as snow. Precipitation that falls from June through September accounts for less than 20 percent of the annual total.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Estimated flood flows in the Lake Tahoe basin, California and Nevada