Skip to main content

Launch of Environmental Dive Center by Clean Up The Lake is funded by $125K total matching campaign from Boatworks at Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Community College, Tahoe Beach Club and Pavel Pragin & Nila Ruslen

Clean Up The Lake, renowned for their successful 72 Mile Cleanup project, proudly announces the inauguration of their revolutionary Environmental Dive Center (EDC) at Lake Tahoe. The EDC will be a hybrid between a conservation dive school and an environmental science center located in the heart of Incline Village, NV. This transformative initiative marks a significant leap in the fight against all litter and aquatic invasive species (AIS) in and around Lake Tahoe. “Clean Up The Lake is striving to create a more sustainable future not only through cleanup efforts, but also through advocacy & preventative action and most importantly, a transformative educational program based at the environmental dive center” says Founder & CEO Colin West.

“The center will be the first of it’s kind”, says West. With a grand opening date set for August 17th, 2023, the EDC will include a classroom for all environmental dive courses that will double as a boardroom, a location for environmental film screenings, a space for litter categorization and data collection events, as well as more opportunity for engaging experiences including an expansion of internship programs and on-site visits for youth groups and classrooms. “We are taking innovative strides to offer visitors and locals alike a unique blend of environmental curriculum and traditional SCUBA certifications” says Director of Programs Sadye Easler. Aspiring divers not only receive world-class SCUBA instruction from PADI Instructors, but will also learn about environmental subjects ranging from submerged litter issues in freshwater and marine environments, aquatic invasive species and more; both in the classroom and underwater. These courses will also teach Clean Up The Lake’s submerged litter cleanup methods, AIS survey techniques, and other important approaches the organization uses in their conservation dive programs.

The First Certified Students: The Washoe Tribe of NV & CA

Clean Up The Lake is thrilled to have completed their first class. The first certified students of the EDC were in fact members of The Washoe Tribe of NV & CA. The goal of this class was to share with the tribe and their environmental department vital skill sets to safeguard their ancestral homeland and assist wherever possible in bolstering their own environmental programs. A statement from the tribe regarding their partnership with Clean Up The Lake is included below.

A Hub for Environmental Initiatives: Cleanups, AIS, and the Lake Tahoe Litter Summit

The Environmental Dive Center will serve as the epicenter for all Clean Up The Lake programs. This ranges from lake remediation and cleanup projects in Lake Tahoe & nearby lakes as well as advocacy and litter prevention initiatives such as the 2nd annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit. The 2024 Litter Summit is now happening in partnership with Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC). LTCC President Jeff Defranco said “LTCC is committed to the goals of environmental sustainability and curbing climate change. We are proud to partner with Clean Up The Lake to work collaboratively on solutions to the litter challenges facing the Tahoe Basin”. The 2nd annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit will be in May of 2024. In the meantime two committees are in development to tackle issues that were addressed at the inaugural Litter Summit. The 2024 Litter Summit will include an invite-only portion at the Thunderbird- Lodge with community members & leaders in litter management, while South Lake Tahoe will also be set to bring a public portion of the Summit at a location to be announced soon.

The organization is also proud to announce the EDC will host Tahoe Keepers sessions in partnership with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). This program focuses on the mitigation of aquatic invasive species in non motorized vessels, which happens to include SCUBA equipment as well. In the 2024 calendar year, the EDC will integrate a nationally recognized scientific dive certification program. These dive programs are often used by universities, government and scientific institutions.

A Global Perspective: Sharing Knowledge and Partnerships

The EDC is not only dedicated to training local volunteers and newcomers but also aspires to share knowledge and collaborate with organizations, nonprofits, and dive teams worldwide. By doing so the non profit hopes to broaden their impact, allowing their work they perform locally in the Tahoe basin to guide other groups on a global level. Their recent work with the Washoe Tribe of NV & CA represents a first step forward in working to share these skill sets to create a larger impact with other communities. The team is ensuring to act locally, while thinking globally.

Building Partnerships for a Better Future: Generous Donations and Opportunities

Generous donations from esteemed partners, including Boatworks Mall at Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC), Tahoe Beach Club, and donors Pavel Pravin and Nila Ruslen, have spearheaded the Environmental Dive Center’s establishment. With their support, CUTL is now able to match your donations up to $125,000 USD. So please go to or and donate now. If you are interested in a larger level of support, there are naming rights opportunities and founding partnerships available for individual donors and corporate partners alike. The launch of the EDC would also not be possible without the support of it’s in kind donors like Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company, Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, Tahoe Table Company & Snowcap Architecture.

The doors will open on Monday August 14th, 2023 with a Grand Opening Celebration on August 17th, 2023. The Environmental Dive Center welcomes all enthusiasts, volunteers, interested divers, and partners during its open hours. Together, the community now has a resource to protect Lake Tahoe’s clarity from microplastics, all litter, aquatic invasive species and more for generations to come.

Press Contact

Colin West

Founder & CEO of Clean Up The Lake 501(c)3

+1 (530) 562-7131

Founding Partners

tahoe beach club

Pavel Pragin and Nila Ruslen

About the Partners

Clean Up the Lake 501(c)3

Clean Up The Lake, formerly known for their successful 72 Mile Cleanup project that removed over 25,281 LBS of small litter from Lake Tahoe has now removed over 65,000 LBS of litter from their local environment, most of which is under the surface of our lakes. Their mission is to activate local communities to protect their environment both above and below the surface. The Environmental Dive Center marks their largest and longest lasting endeavor yet as a public charity.

Boatworks At Lake Tahoe

Boatworks at Lake Tahoe is committed to energizing and activating our community space in Tahoe City. They strive to be representative of the community they serve and cultivate an eco-friendly partnership with Lake Tahoe’s organizations, residents, and visitors. They are dedicated to giving back and supporting Tahoe City. As a more active member of the community, they support causes that enable Tahoe City and its surrounding area to become stronger, safer, and more exciting. They look forward to consulting with their neighbors, abiding to the strict requirements of Placer County and the TRPA, and doing their part protect the Tahoe City community and all of Lake Tahoe. Boatworks Mall has donated $50,000 USD to this campaign to date.

Lake Tahoe Community College

LTCC provides approximately 7,500 students annually with the opportunity to obtain their degree, credential, or personal development in an array of program areas. In 2020, the LTCC Board of Trustees officially established a goal of being a leader in addressing climate change on campus and in the community. Priority areas for the college in recent years have focused on partnering with community organizations on Tahoe sustainability efforts, reducing single-use plastics on campus, collaborating to provide electric bus charging stations, and launching and expanding educational programs that ensure the workforce necessary to lead in environmental sustainability, including Forestry, Fire, and Environmental Sciences. LTCC has donated $25,000 to this campaign to date.

Tahoe Beach Club

Set on the coveted East Shore of the lake, Tahoe Beach Club is the ideal location to experience private beachside living. The homes here meld timeless workmanship with modern comfort and provide access to the best of Tahoe just beyond the gates. From world-renowned skiing and miles of trails, to acclaimed golfing and live entertainment, everything is right at the beach. Since 2022, Tahoe Beach Club has held an annual fundraising event called “Alpenglow” that benefits Clean Up The Lake where last year’s event as well as this year’s event will go to support Clean Up The Lake. This makes them a Founding Partner to the Environmental Dive Center with a focus on the Tahoe Terrain Trap project, cleaning & doing research on the subsurface shoreline of Nevada. Tahoe Beach Club has committed $25,000 to this campaign to date with possibly more coming after an event on July 29th, 2023.

Washoe Tribe of NV & CA and the Partnership with Clean Up The Lake

“The Washoe Tribe is working to expand their stewardship and involvement within the Basin to focus on conservation and protection of our cultural and environmental resources. The relationship with Clean Up The Lake began with John Peltier, a Lake Tahoe photographer who offered to document WEPD projects at no cost to the Tribe. John is also a divemaster and was able to connect us with Colin West from Clean Up The Lake who was interested in developing a meaningful collaboration with the Tribe. There are now three Washoe Tribal Members and soon to be five certified divers from the Washoe Tribe who will be working with Clean Up The Lake to identify litter and AIS issues in Lake Tahoe. This is has been a great partnership thus far, Clean Up The Lake has reached out early and often for Washoe Tribal Participation” says Rhiana Jones, Director of Environmental Program, Washoe Tribe of NV & CA.

Pavel Pragin and Nila Ruslen

Pavel Pragin and Nila Ruslen are residents of the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and prominent donors to Clean Up The Lake for the last three years. They are proud supporters of the work being done by the organization and are passionate about protecting this environment we all know and love. These two have donated $25,000 to this specific campaign to date.

Support the Environmental Dive Center

Clean Up The Lake is now able to match donations up to $125,000.  Please consider making a donation to Clean Up the Lake today.