Ten years of fighting aquatic invasive species at Lake Tahoe | TheUnion.com

Ten years of fighting aquatic invasive species at Lake Tahoe

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program, according to a release.

Under the program, every motorized watercraft is inspected to ensure it is clean, drained and dry and not carrying aquatic invasive species before launching at Tahoe. No new aquatic invasive species have been detected in Lake Tahoe since the program began 10 years ago.

Of the nearly 8,000 vessels watercraft inspectors examined this boating season, 44 percent of them arrived clean, drained, and dry. Eleven watercraft were found carrying invasive mussels and 40 were harboring other species.

This exemplifies the excellent work by the inspectors, but also that watercraft continue to be a vector of aquatic invasive species. Each fouled vessel was decontaminated prior to launching in Lake Tahoe. The largest number of decontaminations occur on vessels containing standing water, which may contain unwanted seeds, plant fragments or microscopic larvae.

Boaters are encouraged to continue to be a part of the solution by cleaning, draining and drying their vessel before launching in any waterbody. This includes both motorized and non-motorized watercraft.

“They may hide on the hull, in your bilge, on your anchor, in your ballast system, or … inside a pontoon,” said Christopher Kilian, program manager at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, of invasive species. “We’d like everyone to keep this in mind as they travel to other waterbodies or prepare for inspections.”

All watercraft are required to be inspected prior to launching in Lake Tahoe.

As fall approaches, boat inspections will move to select launch ramps and winter hours will begin on Oct. 1. Tahoe Resource Conservation District inspectors will be stationed at Cave Rock and Lake Forest boat launch ramps from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather 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 weather permits. Decontamination fees will apply for watercraft that are not clean, drained and dry. Inspections are only available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest boat launch ramps. Boaters are encouraged to confirm hours and inspection locations at TahoeBoatInspections.com or by calling 888-824-6267.

A new invasive species introduction in Lake Tahoe could have devastating impacts. Without natural predators, invasive species multiply quickly and can colonize the lake, as well as docks, water pipes, filtration systems, piers, ramps and boats. They destroy fish habitat, impair boat engines, and negatively impact water quality and recreation, thus posing serious threats to the ecology, recreation, infrastructure, and economy of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

To learn how to clean, drain and dry your vessel and prepare for a watercraft inspection, please visit http://www.TahoeBoatInspections.com.

The Truckee Watercraft Inspection Station is closed for the season. The other three stations will remain open through Sept. 30.

For non-motorized watercraft preparing to boat in the Lake Tahoe Region, visit http://www.TahoeKeepers.org to learn more.

Source: Tahoe Resource Conservation District

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