My Project, by Tyler Murphy
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
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.
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