Boat inspectors recently prevented two vessels from launching at Lake Tahoe and other regional lakes, after discovering infestations of aquatic invasive species (AIS). During mandatory inspections in Meyers and Truckee, California, inspectors found invasive mussels on both boats.
Inspectors intercepted the first boat at the inspection Station in Meyers, California. The powerboat was coming to Lake Tahoe from Lake Pleasant, Arizona. Discovered on the boat’s hull were some 100 invasive mussels, many suspected to be alive. Inspectors treated and killed the mussels during the decontamination process, but the infestation was so large that inspectors could not remove all the mussels from the boat’s hull and other hard-to-reach areas. The watercraft was not allowed to launch.
In the second case, inspectors in Truckee, California intercepted a small nonmotorized sailboat that contained approximately 20 dead mussels. The mussels were found inside of the sailboat’s keel locker on the hull. The owner stated the boat had been out of the water for about four years, and that he had unknowingly purchased the boat with the mussels already onboard.
“This is a stark reminder of why inspections are mandatory at Lake Tahoe. Aquatic invasive species pose a serious threat and we rely on the hard work and diligence of our boat inspection team to protect Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies,” said Chris Kilian, Tahoe Resource Conservation District.
- Both vessels were intercepted by inspectors before they could launch into local waterbodies.
- Both boats were quarantined for further inspection and decontamination.
- Regarding the boat from Arizona, the mussels lived through the 700-mile, 12-hour trip to Tahoe.
- Deemed to be a high-risk vessel, California Department of Fish and Wildlife required a mechanic to take apart the powerboat’s drive to remove potentially live mussels. The craft was returned to Arizona, and never launched in Lake Tahoe.
- The sailboat was eventually cleared from quarantine and allowed to launch at Donner Lake.
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s aquatic resources program manager Dennis Zabaglo said, “In both instances, inspectors on the front-line kept watercraft from potentially harming Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem. These incidents underscore the need for boaters to arrive at inspection stations with their craft clean, drained, and dried.”
In the last 11 years, the Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program has been successful in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species into Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies in the Region. Once introduced, species like quagga and zebra mussels would have devastating consequences for the ecosystem and economy.
So you think you know about AIS? Join us Wednesday June 28th at Moe’s in Tahoe City from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m for trivia, fun, prizes, food, and drinks.
Gain a leg up on the competition and a free drink ticket by joining us from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Trivia will start promptly at 6 p.m.
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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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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