Tahoe Resource Conservation District

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CSV_flowering Eurasian watermilfoil

Headway made in fight against aquatic invasive plants

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Lake Tahoe, CA

In 2010, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), in collaboration with the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program, began treatment of approximately six acres of aquatic invasive plants in the nearshore by Vikingsholm in the iconic Emerald Bay. The control methods included bottom barriers, which kill plants by eliminating light, and diver-assisted suction removal, which physically removes plants and roots. After four years of comprehensive treatment, Emerald Bay remains free of aquatic invasive plants.

Using this integrated approach, other locations around the Lake Tahoe Basin are being addressed. An Implementation Plan for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species within Lake Tahoe developed by University of Nevada Reno in 2015 is guiding the way. The Implementation Plan uses an ecological and scientifically-based framework to determine site prioritization, which calls for controlling satellite populations in an effort to achieve containment. In 2016 Tahoe RCD treated 4.5 acres at Lakeside Marina and Beach, Crystal Shores marinas, Fleur du Lac’s outer harbor and in the Truckee River. This winter a new infestation at the Tahoe Vista boat launch will be tackled. Treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil is important for water quality because the invasive plant raises pH, decreases oxygen, and increases water temperature, all of which alter the ecosystem and negatively impact recreation and public safety.

“From our efforts in Emerald Bay, we know that invasive plant populations can be reduced, and with continued treatments, we will be able to better manage populations around the lake in the future,” said Tahoe RCD District Manager Kim Boyd.

Tahoe RCD anticipates the continuation of aquatic plant control efforts in Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River for years to come. While bottom barriers and diver-assisted suction removal have proven to be successful, there is a need to identify other techniques that could help us get ahead of the battle, particularly with persistent plant species such as curlyleaf pondweed. The potential to use ultra-violet light will increase the effective techniques available to Tahoe RCD especially in low water years and in tight spaces within marinas. Ultra-violet light has proven in lab studies and small field tests to damage the DNA and cellular structure of aquatic plants causing it to die back. Tahoe RCD will continue to work with partners this winter to finalize environmental documentation and permitting so UV light can be tested in Lake Tahoe in 2017.

“We are excited about working with our partners to explore new technology that can be added to the toolbox,” said Boyd, “A project using UV light to reduce aquatic plant infestations is being developed and is expected to launch in spring 2017.”

Funding for these projects has been provided by the Truckee River Fund, the Tahoe Fund, the Rotary Club of Tahoe City, California Tahoe Conservancy, and Nevada Division of State Lands.

JohnsonMeadows

Additional Funding Secured for Johnson Meadow Acquisition

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) today announced the award of up to $4,000,000 in Proposition 1 funds to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) to partner with the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Tahoe Fund to seek acquisition of the Johnson Meadows Property located in South Lake Tahoe. The approximately 209-acre property is the largest privately owned meadow in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the last large private property holding in the lower nine miles of the Upper Truckee River (UTR).

The funding from DFW combines with $4,234,000 awarded to the Tahoe RCD by the California Tahoe Conservancy in March 2016. The Tahoe Fund is also a funding partner and will be seeking to raise an additional $100,000 to help secure the entire $8,315,000 necessary to acquire the Property.

“If completed, the acquisition of the Johnson Meadow Property will be one of the most important public land purchases in the last decade in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Kim Boyd, District Manager at the Tahoe RCD. “The Property would connect over 1,000 acres of UTR floodplain in near continuous public ownership within the UTR’s lower nine miles.”

Acquisition of the Property would preserve wildlife habitat and open space, create public access to the UTR, and prevent additional environmental degradation from grazing. Additionally, acquisition of the property could lead to potential future restoration opportunities such as floodplain enhancement, sediment filtration improvement, and wet meadow habitat enrichment.

“This potential acquisition places virtually the entire river corridor in public ownership,” said California Tahoe Conservancy Executive Director Patrick Wright, who noted that the Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, the City of South Lake Tahoe, and California State Parks have all been working to restore various stretches of the river, the largest watershed in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the highest contributor of fine sediment that impacts the lake’s clarity. The Tahoe RCD hopes to complete negotiations with the land owners to enable the acquisition by the end of 2017.

Bilgeflush_Alpinestation

Tahoe Boat Inspections Move to Launch Ramps for Fall and Winter

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Starting in October boat inspections will move to select launch ramps and winter hours will begin.  Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) inspectors will be stationed at Cave Rock and Lake Forest boat launches from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather and construction permitting. All boats without an intact Tahoe inspection seal are required to get an inspection during daylight hours. Decontaminations are available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest throughout October as long as weather permits. Decontamination fees will apply for watercraft that are not clean, drained and dry. “Clean, Drain and Dry” watercraft that have been in a known infested waterbody will also require a precautionary decontamination at no cost. Boats with intact inspection seals are permitted to launch at all open launch facilities; however, inspections are only available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest.  Boaters are encouraged to confirm hours and inspection locations online at TahoeBoatInspections.com or by calling the toll-free hotline at 888-824-6267. 

“It is more efficient to move inspections back to the boat ramps with the decrease in boater traffic during the slower fall and winter months,” said Dennis Zabaglo, aquatic resources program manager at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, “but we will continue operations at roadside inspection locations for the 2017 summer boating season.  We appreciate the continued cooperation from Tahoe boaters in helping to protect our amazing recreational resources from the threat of aquatic invasive species and supporting our nationally recognized prevention program.”

According to monitoring and scientific reports, Lake Tahoe remains free of new invasive species introductions, which are major threats to the overall health of Lake Tahoe and surrounding waterbodies. During the 2016 boating season, Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors performed more than 7,500 inspections.  In total, more than 15,000 vessels launched at Lake Tahoe, including both newly inspected vessels and those with intact Tahoe-issued inspection seals.

As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the importance of Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program remains critical. In fact, in 2016, 35 of the inspected watercraft were harboring aquatic invasive plants, mussels or snails. With our efficient roadside inspection stations, Tahoe RCD decontaminated approximately 3,500 watercraft with hot water, preventing invasive species from entering Tahoe’s waters.

“We would like to thank the thousands of boaters who arrived at our Watercraft Inspection Stations with their watercraft clean, drained and dry,” said Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program manager for Tahoe RCD. “These boaters were able to get on the water faster and avoided paying the additional fees.”

Tahoe RCD continues to support aquatic invasive species prevention efforts in the Truckee region. Tahoe RCD partnered with the Town of Truckee to provide watercraft inspections and decontaminations for Donner Lake at our Truckee-Tahoe watercraft inspection station.  Please join the Town of Truckee at 6pm Wednesday September 28th at Town Hall in the Council Chambers for their second public workshop about the future of Donner Lake’s prevention program. Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors also educated over 3,000 boaters and paddlers about preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species at Prosser and Boca Reservoirs in Nevada County and Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County.

Prevention efforts for over 12,000 paddlers in the Region occurred at beach kiosks, boat ramps and park entrances. Watercrafts were assessed for their risk of transporting aquatic invasive species from previously visited waterbodies. Paddlers were also educated about self-inspecting and decontaminating canoes, kayaks and paddleboards and encouraged to become a Tahoe Keeper (TahoeKeepers.org).

UVlightboat

Tahoe Fund Kick Starts Innovation with Grant to UV Light Pilot Project

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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and TAHOE CITY, Calif.  – August 22, 2016 – In an effort to spur innovation in Tahoe, the Tahoe Fund announced that it is providing the initial funds for a project that will evaluate UV light as a new method to remove aquatic invasive weeds.  This innovative approach that will be used in a pilot program at Lakeside Marina and Beach could change the way aquatic invasive weeds are controlled in Tahoe’s watershed and beyond if successful. 
 
The $5,000 grant to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District from the Tahoe Fund’s Environmental Venture Trust will help secure more than $350,000 in public and private funds to help get the project started this year.
 
“We launched the Environmental Venture Trust to get innovative projects just like this off the ground,” said Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. “It is amazing to see how a $5,000 grant can really get things going. We are excited for what this new venture can mean for Tahoe.”
 
 “We have been working with the UV light company and public funders for a while to find a way to get this pilot project launched in Tahoe, but we kept running into the roadblock of funding the very early stage work,” said Kim Boyd of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. “With this grant from the Tahoe Fund we were able to unlock significant public funds so we can get started.”
 
The Tahoe Fund is currently seeking donors for the Environmental Venture Trust who are interested in using philanthropic dollars to help drive innovative solutions to Tahoe’s core environmental challenges.  Once the initial campaign goal of $100,000 is reached, the Tahoe Fund will request project ideas that are in need of early-stage funding to get started.
 
The Tahoe Resource Conservation District has partnered with Inventive Resources, Inc. to develop a pilot project to explore the feasibility of using UV light technology to treat and control aquatic invasive plant infestations.  New research, conducted by Inventive Resources, Inc., including bench-tested technology in a laboratory setting, indicates that UV light (a high frequency light wave) damages the DNA and cellular structure of aquatic plants and their fragments.  If determined to be feasible, UV treatment could avoid the need to use chemical herbicides to treat aquatic invasive weeds in the Tahoe Keys, which are of great concern to drinking water suppliers.  The Tahoe Fund grant will unlock funds from the California Tahoe Conservancy’s SB 630 program and potentially additional funds in the future from the US EPA.
 
Through the generosity of private donors, the Tahoe Fund has supported 15 projects in the Tahoe Basin since 2011, including more than one million dollars for a new bike path from Incline to Sand Harbor that recently broke ground. For more information about how you can contribute to the Environmental Venture Trust or other Tahoe Fund projects, please visit www.tahoefund.org.
 

 About the Tahoe Fund
The mission of Tahoe Fund is to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin by building broad support and funding for projects and programs that increase the enjoyment of the region for current and future generations. The Fund focuses grants on the core areas of conservation, recreation and education/stewardship.

 

 

A_PWC flush-take temp

Lake Tahoe Roadside Boat Inspection Stations Open for Season

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Roadside stations for inspections and decontaminations of motorized boats and watercraft are officially opening for the 2016 boating season.

Locations, hours of operation and opening dates are as follows:

Opening Sunday, May 1st:

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., 7 days a week

  • Meyers: at the junction of US 50 and Highway 89
  • Spooner Summit: at the junction of US 50 and Highway 28 in Nevada
  • Alpine Meadows: Highway 89, off Alpine Meadows Road north of Tahoe City

Opening Thursday, May 19th:

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursday-Sunday, CLOSED Monday-Wednesday

  • Truckee-Tahoe: Highway 267, off Truckee Airport Road

 “Boat inspections are critical to maintaining the health of Lake Tahoe and our local recreation-based economy,” said Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Aquatic Resources Program Manager.  “Through the efforts of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s trained inspectors and other private and public partners committed to the Lake, we expect to have another successful season.”

All motorized watercraft require inspection for aquatic invasive species (AIS) prior to launching into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lake. Invasive species are highly advantageous and can be transported by non-motorized water recreation equipment as well. The Tahoe Keeper program was created to inform the paddling community about the importance of inspecting equipment, including: kayaks, paddleboards, fishing equipment, inflatable water toys and life jackets.

Invasive species, such as quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and hydrilla, are known to multiply quickly and colonize underwater surfaces, including docks and piers, water supply and filtration systems, buoys, moored boats, and even the beautiful rocky shoreline.  They destroy fish habitat, ruin boat engines, and can negatively impact water quality and the local economy, recreation, and ecosystem.  Boats and other watercraft are the largest transporters of AIS, and the inspection program is critical to preventing their spread into Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies.  Knowingly transporting AIS into Lake Tahoe is against the law, and violators may be subject to monetary penalties.

 “Boaters are encouraged to Clean, Drain, and Dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations in order to save time and money,” according to Nicole Cartwright, AIS Program Coordinator for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, “make sure to drain all water, even water from your garden hose used to flush. Taking these three simple steps will get you on the water faster.”

 Annual watercraft inspection fees remain unchanged from last year. The “Tahoe In & Out” inspection ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The “Tahoe Only” inspection sticker is $30. An additional fee of $35 is charged for any boat requiring decontamination and an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags. 

 For more information on aquatic invasive species prevention, control, and early detection join us for our Spring Public Forum. The event is located this year at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village on June 14th from 5:00-7:30 p.m. Event details and information on the inspection program and AIS can be found by visiting TahoeBoatInspections.com or calling (888) 824-6267.