Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Aquatic Invasive Species

A Changing Lake: The Fight Against Aquatic Invasive Species

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Come join and join us for a night of hands-on activities and presentations about the past, present, and future of aquatic invasive species control and prevention efforts.

This year’s annual public forum will be held from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences in Incline Village which hosts a variety of hands on exhibits such as: an invasive species station filled with various invasive species and a timeline of introduction, including a fish tank displays with live native and invasive fish species. Step onto the boat exhibit and learn about the secchi disk and how it is used to describe Lake clarity, or take a tour of the hands-on information about Lake Tahoe and its history. Enjoy refreshments as you tour the interactive booths and learn about the numerous actions and ongoing Science that is being done to protect Lake Tahoe while the kids take part in an invasive scavenger hunt. Presentations will give participants information about Eyes on the Lake and invasive weed identification, control projects planned for 2016 and beyond, as well as a presentation from the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association about their role in tackling invasive species (see schedule below).

6:00 – Welcome “Tahoe Keepers Video”

6:05 – “Eyes on the Lake” Invasive Weed Information

6:20 – Aquatic Invasive Species Control and Prevention Programs

6:35 – Tahoe Keys Invasive Weed Plan 

For more information or to RSVP contact Sarah Bauwens 530-543-1501 ext.126 or sbauwens@tahoercd.org.


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.


5th Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Public Forum

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My Project, by Tyler Murphy

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This is a personal piece from the daughter of one of Tahoe RCD’s dive contractors. Please enjoy as much as we did!—AIS Program Staff

My Project

By Tyler Murphy

My name is Tyler, and I love Lake Tahoe. Its beauty is truly a gift, and its people are wonderful. It’s my lake, my home, and I have a responsibility to protect it.

To do that, the Aquatic Invasive Species Project is my best friend. There are other invasive species in Lake Tahoe, but the Eurasian watermilfoil might as well be its biggest menace. A lot of people say it looks like seaweed, but the plant is its own. As it grows, it creates a new, different, bad Lake Tahoe, eliminating the one we know. Being a potential threat to swimmers, and destroying Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem, it has to be blown out of the water, literally. That’s where my family comes in.

Together my mom, dad, little sister, and I have created our own reputation in Lake Tahoe. A typical day sees us work morning, noon, and night. 5:00am is the wake-up call, getting our butts out the front door, while half asleep, and with everything we need for the day packed in the Bronco, we finally get on the road. We wait for Fireball (the sun) to come up and I do some school work while my little sister makes us laugh with all her goofiness. Work? Oh ya… Pulling, pushing, yanking, tying, tiring, fighting against the current and fatigue to get these weeds out of the water, while our bodies are both sore and aching. After we’re done for the day, Dad fights to stay awake to drive us home while we snooze in the back. Then it’s the bag-drag, which is unloading the car and starting the laundry. By now it’s dark and Dad soaks his muscles in a hot bath with a cold beer. My little sister and I watch TV while Mom cooks dinner. Occasionally dinner consists of eating while struggling to stay awake. When we finally get to bed, sometimes we’re so tired we can’t sleep.

I believe Emerald Bay is the most beautiful place in Lake Tahoe. There were doubts that we could get the infestation down to zero percent in less than five years. In 2013 Emerald Bay was declared weed free. We finished in three years. I am so proud of the work we do.

I have learned so much from Mom and Dad.  We help out on the dive sites with tasks like air drops (putting barriers in the water for deployment), pulling barriers out, and paperwork. It’s a good thing my sister and I are both certified SCUBA divers, in a few more years we’ll be able to dive with them. In the three years I’ve volunteered, I’ve learned from Dad a little bit how to drive the boat, I’ve learned how to put the dredge together (a machine that sucks up weeds underwater, it’s really loud and has a lot of nuts and bolts). I’ve also attended public forums with Dad about Tahoe, and have helped out when he teaches classes at schools. Educating my peers is a very satisfying feeling.

You can hear about Tahoe from people and places, but the real awesomeness happens when you see it and feel it for yourself. I love being at the lake, working on the project just gives us an excuse to come every day. The work is backbreaking and hard, but I love it. It brings on a good tired. I love seeing all the different people that come to enjoy the lake, and the wildlife I see and encounter is amazing! Fish, Ducks, Beavers, Osprey, Bears (from a distance), Tadpoles- and so much more.

Lake Tahoe is beautiful and every day is a new day. I love the fact that I’m protecting Lake Tahoe at 15 years old, and if I can to it, you can do it too. 

Truckee Watercraft Inspector

Watercraft Inspections for Sierra County, CA

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Surface waters within Sierra County will receive protection from aquatic invasive species introduction as a result of County Ordinance 1041. Under this ordinance, boaters will be required to complete a watercraft self-inspection prior to launching in surface waters of Sierra County starting in May, 2014. Water bodies affected by this ordinance include Independence Lake, Lake of the Woods, Webber Lake, Milton Reservoir, Jackson Meadows Reservoir, Stampede Reservoir and all Lakes Basin water bodies, including Gold Lake (2 launches), Lower Salmon Lake, Lower Sardine Lake, Upper Sardine Lake, Packer Lake, Snag Lake, Upper Salmon Lake, Lower Salmon Lake, Goose Lake, and Haven Lake.

If established in local waters, aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as quagga mussels, Asian clams and Eurasian Watermilfoil, could degrade aquatic ecosystems, inhibit recreation, damage infrastructure and equipment and cause depreciation in property values. “I applaud the Board of Supervisors for having the vision to be one of the first rural counties to adopt a local AIS inspection ordinance and program that will afford protection to the County’s waterways and further protect this valuable environmental and economic resource”, said Tim Beals, Director of Public Works. Bob Latta, Chairman of the County Fish and Wildlife Commission states “this is a very high priority for the Commission and we anticipate positive public reception to this program that allows boaters to take responsibility for their vessels.”

For the 2014 season, Sierra County will partner with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) to develop and implement the County’s watercraft self-inspection program. Since 2009, the Tahoe RCD has gained experience and developed expertise in the creation and management of watercraft inspection programs in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee regions.

For the full press release, click here