Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Archives: April 2014

Tahoe Boat Inspection Stations OPEN May 1st

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Roadside stations for inspections and decontaminations of motorized boats and watercraft are officially opening for the 2014 boating season.

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

Opening Thursday 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 22nd:

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

  • Northstar: Highway 267, at Northstar Drive south of Truckee

 Please note that the Homewood inspection station is closed this season.

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

 All motorized boats and watercraft require inspection for aquatic invasive species (AIS) prior to launching into Lake Tahoe. Invasive species, such as Quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails or 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 water bodies.  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, Watercraft Inspection Program Administrator for the Tahoe RCD “Make sure to drain and dry 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 2013.  The “Tahoe In & Out” sticker ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet.   The “Tahoe Only” sticker fee is $30.  An additional fee of $35 is being 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 located in Incline Village, NV on May 22nd from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Event details can be found by visiting TahoeBoatInspections.com or call (888) 824-6267 for updates, details and information. 

Picture of Retaining walls

Frequently Asked Questions: BMPs

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What is the Environmental Improvement Program?

The Environmental Improvement (EIP) Program is a comprehensive restoration program launched in 1997 as a private and public partnership launched after the 1997 Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum to protect and improve Lake Tahoe Basin’s natural and recreational resources. Hundreds of EIP projects are completed each year focusing on improving air, water, and scenic quality, forest health, fish and wildlife, and public access to the Lake and other recreation areas to improve the environment.  Many are water quality improvement and erosion control projects which incorporate stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) implemented by the City, the Counties and state highways to reduce urban stormwater runoff to improve Lake clarity and near-shore conditions.

What is Urban Stormwater Runoff?

During rain storms and other precipitation events, hard surfaces such as roadways, concrete and rooftops carry stormwater to nearby storm drains and rivers that lead to Lake Tahoe instead of allowing the water to percolate through the soil. This natural filtering process is important for protecting Lake Tahoe’s clarity. The sediment and associated nutrients in stormwater runoff also feed algae and aquatic invasive species which negatively affect water quality, habitat, and aesthetic and recreation opportunities.

Do I still need to do my BMPs?

Yes. All private and public property owners in the Basin are required to install and maintain water quality Best Management Practices (BMPs) on developed properties. BMPs are proven methods that prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our waters, can help slow or reverse the loss of Lake clarity and improve near shore conditions. The push for program participation by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency may heighten when local stormwater jurisdictions are implementing EIP projects in your neighborhood. These water quality improvement projects collect and treat stormwater from the public roads, and the right-of-way. The public is being asked to do their part as well by installing BMPs that typically include: paving dirt driveways, protecting soil under roof drip lines, stabilizing or retaining steep slopes and loose soil, and vegetating and mulching bare soils, and installing stormwater retention systems which capture stormwater allowing it to soak into the soil instead of runoff the property. 

What is Source Control?

Source control BMPs are measures taken to specifically keep soil from leaving the property.  This approach excludes stormwater infiltration systems such as drywells and infiltration basins when infiltration isn’t feasible due to steep slopes or high groundwater. When these measures are implemented on properties where stormwater infiltration is challenging, the TPRA has issued BMP Source Control Certificates to recognize that the property owner has implemented these basic sediment control measures. In some instances, private property owners have been able to install joint stormwater infiltration systems, due to limitation on one or more individual properties, which have allowed all of the properties to receive TRPA BMP Certificates of Completion.

What is Area-wide Stormwater Treatment?

Area-wide stormwater treatment is a new approach to implementing cost efficient and effective urban stormwater management practices. A handful of these area-wide projects are underway in the Tahoe Basin to ensure capture and treatment of urban stormwater runoff where conditions such as proximity to lake, high ground water, or steep slopes can limit stormwater infiltration.  When these conditions exist, property owners may find that installing and maintaining BMPs on their property is significantly more challenging and costly. Participation in area-wide stormwater projects can offer incentives such as reduced capital outlay costs, joining a public-private partnership to maximize state and local funding and reduced maintenance costs.

What does the CWP program have to do with BMPs?

In order to assist with pollutant load reductions to Lake Tahoe, the Community Watershed Partnership (CWP) Program supports implementation of the Basin’s Environmental Improvement Program (EIP), a cooperative public/private effort to preserve, restore and enhance the environment of the Lake Tahoe Region. Through the development of the CWP Program the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District (NTCD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) have provided extensive technical assistance and education to private property owners in order to contribute to the reduction of pollutants that effect Lake Tahoe’s unique clarity, beauty and bountiful natural resources for future generations.

Why do I want to practice Lake Friendly Landscaping?

Lake friendly landscaping encourages sustainable practices that protect the region’s natural resources in our own backyards and communities. Lake friendly landscaping encourages property owners to use water, fertilizer and pesticides wisely, and to use native and adapted plants to benefit wildlife habitat while reducing soil erosion and wildfire risk. Through the CWP program, property owners can participate in Lake friendly landscape stewardship practices in a fun and creative way. 

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, https://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!

Community Watershed Partnership

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Through the Community Watershed Partnership program, in 2014, the Tahoe RCD is offering technical assistance in select watershed areas. Map of the Community Watershed Partnership areas is shown below:

View Community Watershed Partnership in a larger map

We will continue to assist property owners outside of these designated areas as time and funding permits. If you are seeking BMP, Lake Friendly Landscaping or Invasive Weed technical assistance, please use the ‘request our service’ form at TahoeRCD.org and we will contact you within 4 days to discuss next steps and the resources available to you.

The District’s present capacity to provide cost free BMP assistance is limited; however, the TRPA Stormwater Program webpage has resources available to help you design your own residential BMPs. Please visit TahoeBMP.org to learn more. 

If you have immediate questions about TRPA’s BMP program, please contact them by phone (775) 589-5202 or online TahoeBMP.org.

Please participate in our 2014 Community Survey to help us understand how we can assist you with BMPs and Landscape Conservation. Please note that Tahoe RCD services are grant funded and are subject to change.