Lake Tahoe, CA
In 2010, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), in collaboration with the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program, began treatment of approximately six acres of aquatic invasive plants in the nearshore by Vikingsholm in the iconic Emerald Bay. The control methods included bottom barriers, which kill plants by eliminating light, and diver-assisted suction removal, which physically removes plants and roots. After four years of comprehensive treatment, Emerald Bay remains free of aquatic invasive plants.
Using this integrated approach, other locations around the Lake Tahoe Basin are being addressed. An Implementation Plan for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species within Lake Tahoe developed by University of Nevada Reno in 2015 is guiding the way. The Implementation Plan uses an ecological and scientifically-based framework to determine site prioritization, which calls for controlling satellite populations in an effort to achieve containment. In 2016 Tahoe RCD treated 4.5 acres at Lakeside Marina and Beach, Crystal Shores marinas, Fleur du Lac’s outer harbor and in the Truckee River. This winter a new infestation at the Tahoe Vista boat launch will be tackled. Treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil is important for water quality because the invasive plant raises pH, decreases oxygen, and increases water temperature, all of which alter the ecosystem and negatively impact recreation and public safety.
“From our efforts in Emerald Bay, we know that invasive plant populations can be reduced, and with continued treatments, we will be able to better manage populations around the lake in the future,” said Tahoe RCD District Manager Kim Boyd.
Tahoe RCD anticipates the continuation of aquatic plant control efforts in Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River for years to come. While bottom barriers and diver-assisted suction removal have proven to be successful, there is a need to identify other techniques that could help us get ahead of the battle, particularly with persistent plant species such as curlyleaf pondweed. The potential to use ultra-violet light will increase the effective techniques available to Tahoe RCD especially in low water years and in tight spaces within marinas. Ultra-violet light has proven in lab studies and small field tests to damage the DNA and cellular structure of aquatic plants causing it to die back. Tahoe RCD will continue to work with partners this winter to finalize environmental documentation and permitting so UV light can be tested in Lake Tahoe in 2017.
“We are excited about working with our partners to explore new technology that can be added to the toolbox,” said Boyd, “A project using UV light to reduce aquatic plant infestations is being developed and is expected to launch in spring 2017.”
Funding for these projects has been provided by the Truckee River Fund, the Tahoe Fund, the Rotary Club of Tahoe City, California Tahoe Conservancy, and Nevada Division of State Lands.
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).
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and TAHOE CITY, Calif. – August 22, 2016 – In an effort to spur innovation in Tahoe, the Tahoe Fund announced that it is providing the initial funds for a project that will evaluate UV light as a new method to remove aquatic invasive weeds. This innovative approach that will be used in a pilot program at Lakeside Marina and Beach could change the way aquatic invasive weeds are controlled in Tahoe’s watershed and beyond if successful.
About the Tahoe Fund
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 email@example.com.
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.
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