Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Aquatic Invasive Species Programs

The Tahoe RCD is a key player in the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Programs Coordination Committee (LTAISCC) that was organized to collaborate on prevention, control and early detection programs.  This group was formed to better share resources and information, standardize methods for treatment and data collection, perform coordinated education and outreach activities, obtain grants, and organize effective control efforts.

Lake Tahoe’s original ecosystem was very simple, and consisted of only one predominant predator.

Aquatic Invasive Species Introduction Timeline

AIS Introduction Timeline

Over time, non-native species have been intentionally introduced to increase sport fishing or enhance ecosystem resources. Invasive species, non-natives that are harmful to the ecosystem, have also been introduced through unknown vectors. Click here for Lake Tahoe’s food web and introductions from the past 100 years.

Aquatic Invasive Species Harm Lake Tahoe by:

  1. Severely decreasing recreational uses, such as swimming, boating, water-skiing, and fishing
  2. Degrading boats by clogging propellers and cooling intakes
  3. Facilitating invasions of other non-native species
  4. Altering nutrient cycles and increasing algal growth in the lake by adding phosphorous to the water column, thus contributing to overall clarity decline

Species of Concern:

Present in Lake Tahoe:
Eurasian watermilfoil

Curly leaf pondweed
Large mouth bass
Asian clam
Bluegill
Bull frogs
Goldfish

NOT Present in Lake Tahoe
Zebra mussel

Quagga mussel
New Zealand mudsnail
Spiny water flea
Didymo (rock snot)
And many more

Native vs. Invasive Mollusk Identification Key

Native vs. Invasive Aquatic Plant Identification Key

Native and Invasive Fishes of the Lake Tahoe Basin

Prevention

The Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program is our number one defense against the introduction of new invasive species entering our waterways. Through boat inspections, decontaminations, and continuous education to our users, we have effectively prevented any new species from entering since the program’s inception. Tahoe RCD continues to coordinate and manage the inspection program with the technical assistance and support from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

For information about the Watercraft Inspection Program, go to TahoeBoatInspections.com

Control

The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Control Program is working to control aquatic invasive species that have already been introduced to Lake Tahoe. Primary species of concern are Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myrophyllum spicatum), Curly-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), and Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea). Over 20 control projects have been conducted in Lake Tahoe since 2005, with more on the horizon. Chief among our accomplishments has been a near eradication of over six acres of invasive aquatic weeds in Emerald Bay. Without the help and support of our partner agencies and public participation, none of this control work would be possible. Please consider making a donation to this important program by clicking on “Donate Now” below!

For more details about this program, videos and specific project information, click here