If you’ve ever driven through a boat inspection station in the Tahoe area, they usually look pretty inactive. But with the success of recent inspections at those stations, we’re reminded just how important they are to the Tahoe ecosystem.
Lake Tahoe inspectors were able to intercept and prevent two boats infested with invasive mussels from entering the area this month. Both boats were inspected at mandatory inspection stations in Meyers and Truckee.
In the first instance, a power boat from Lake Pleasant, Arizona was found in the mandatory inspection station in Meyers. The boat had an infestation so bad that some of the mussels were able to survive the 700-mile, 12-hour trip to Tahoe. During the decontamination process, mechanics took apart the boat to see the large extent of the infestation. The boat was not allowed to launch in its intended destination – Lake Tahoe.
The second instance involved a sail boat that was intercepted in Truckee with a small infestation, which inspectors were able to eliminate onsite. The boat had not been used in four years and mussels were found in the boat’s keel locker on the hull. The infestation was successfully removed and the boat was able to launch in Donner Lake.
“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,” Dennis Zabaglo, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency aquatic resources program manager, said in a press release.
Officials have prevented the spread of invasive species into Tahoe’s waterways for the past 11 years. If species like quagga and zebra mussels were introduced into the region, it could be devastating to the local aquatic ecosystem.
“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,” Chris Kilian, aquatic invasive species program manager with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, said in a press release.