Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Invasive Species Detections

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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).

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.

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5th Annual Aquatic Invasive Species Public Forum

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Don’t let invasive weeds take root in your backyard

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We’ve heard your concerns, so this summer we will be offering cost free invasive weed removal services in select California communities where invasive weed populations have been taking root. We want to assist you in the removal of the weeds that have been identified as priority weeds by Basin invasive weed managers before they continue to invade your property and neighboring landscapes.  Follow this link http://www.tahoeinvasiveweeds.org/ to learn how to identify some of the priority invasive weeds in the Lake Tahoe Basin. If you think that you may have one on your property, please contact the Tahoe RCD, http://tahoercd.org/contact-tahoe-rcd/ to verify the weed species. Then we will either provide you with a control strategy or we will roll up our sleeves and help you remove them.

What are invasive plants?

Invasive plants can grow and spread aggressively, choking out native and other desirable plants. The majority of non-native plants do not pose a threat to our Tahoe environment, however there are some that thrive in our climate and produce vast seed banks, have vigorous root systems, and lack natural predators. These characteristics enable these invaders to out-compete native plants and harm our natural environment. When left unchecked, they can impact wildlife communities, increase wildfire potential, accelerate erosion, and degrade native plant populations, water quality, land and recreational value. 

Why you should care

In the Lake Tahoe Basin, we have relatively low invasive weed populations which we can control with diligent prevention and control measures. You can made a difference by learning how to identify and manage invasive weeds including preventing their unintentional spread to new locations. Simple measures like removing seeds that cling to your clothing, bicycle or dog can prevent the spread of invasive weeds. If you are a gardener don’t plant of share invasive plants, no matter how pretty or easy to grow. Also, if you are bring materials to your property such as soil or rock, make sure that it is certified weed-free.  As you learn more about the importance of controlling invasive weeds, please spread your knowledge with your neighbors, friends and co-workers. The more we know, the stronger we can fight the threat of invasive weeds one yard at a time.  

Kudos to the South Lake Tahoe community

Last summer over 33 tributaries were monitored on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, 255 acres of terrestrial weeds were mapped and over 3,000 weeds manually removed by volunteers. Don’t miss out this year!  The Tahoe RCD will be organizing more community stewardship events. If you would like to be contacted sign up on-line or give us a call. You can also stay informed by visiting our website calendar where we will be posting various stewardship opportunities.

Weed Events

  • Identifying invasive weeds can be tricky, there are many look-a-likes. To learn from the experts and see what these weeds look like first hand, sign up for the free The Lake Tahoe Basin Weed Coordinating Group Invasive Weed ID training on June 5, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Tahoe Forest Service Office in South Lake Tahoe.  Check back for registration details.
  • Create your own neighborhood weed pull event. We can help!
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Watercraft Inspection Program Continues to Ward Off Invasive Species

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According to watercraft inspection data and scientific reports, Lake Tahoe’s waters remain free of new invasive species introductions, which are major threats to the overall health of Lake Tahoe and surrounding water bodies. During the 2013 boating season Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) watercraft inspectors performed more than 7,000 new inspections.  In total, more than 14,000 vessels launched at Lake Tahoe, including both newly inspected vessels and those with intact Tahoe-issued inspection seals.

“We’re very happy with the watercraft inspectors’ diligence and accuracy,” said Patrick Stone, TRPA’s Senior Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist. “Monitoring conducted in Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Echo Lake confirmed that quagga and zebra mussels have not established in our lakes. These results are a credit to the inspection program and boaters efforts to arrive clean, drained and dry.”

Local agencies are critically concerned as more Western waterbodies have shown evidence of invasive mussels and other aquatic invaders. This summer, Nevada Department of Wildlife confirmed establishment of New Zealand mudsnails in sections of the Truckee River from Mayberry Park in Reno to the Sparks area. As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the importance of Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program remains critical. In fact, 36 of the inspected watercraft were harboring aquatic invasive critters including plants, mussels and snails. With our efficient roadside inspection stations, Tahoe RCD decontaminated 4,221watercraft with hot water preventing invasive species from entering Tahoe’s waters.

“I’d like to thank the more than 3,000 boaters who arrived at the Tahoe inspection stations with their watercraft clean, drained and dry. They got on the water faster because decontaminations mean more time and more cost for both the boaters and the inspection program.” Nicole Cartwright, Watercraft Inspection Program Administrator.

Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors also staffed Boca, Prosser and Stampede Reservoirs and partnered with the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District to provide watercraft inspectors at Donner Lake. Truckee inspectors screened more than 3,500 vessels for aquatic invasive species. Tahoe RCD continues to support jurisdictions in the Truckee region as they work toward development of their 2014 aquatic invasive species prevention programs.

Prevention efforts for over 7000 paddlers occurred at U.S. Forest Service kiosks, boat ramps and Fallen Leaf Lake. They 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).

Current information on the boat inspection program, including hours of operation for boat launches and snow closures, is available at TahoeBoatInspections.com or by calling 888-824-6267.