If you’ve ever entered or exited the Tahoe region, you’ve probably noticed the checkpoints near the lake that probes boats for invasive species. Now you might see them ramped up in the near future.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reached an agreement with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to provide $1 million in federal funding to help combat invasive aquatic species that harm the health and clarity of Lake Tahoe.
The invasive species pose a major threat to the ecosystem health and economic vitality of the entire Tahoe Basin.
Lake Tahoe’s original ecosystem consisted of only one predominant predator. Over time, some non-native species have been intentionally introduced to increase sport fishing or enhance ecosystem resources. Invasive species, non-natives that are harmful to the ecosystem, have also been introduced through unknown vectors.
Invasive aquatic species hurt Lake Tahoe by severely decreasing recreational uses, degrading boats by clogging propellers and cooling intakes, facilitating invasions of other non-native species and altering nutrient cycles and increasing algae growth in the lake, contributing to overall clarity decline of the water.
Species of concern that don’t reside in Lake Tahoe are Zebra mussel, Quagga mussel, New Zealand mudsnail, Didymo and the Spiny water flea.
The agreement reached with the bi-state agency based in Stateline this week will bolster efforts to control, prevent and develop a basin-wide plan to monitor invasive plant species.
A similar agreement the Army Corps reached with the California Tahoe Conservancy in 2008 helped lead to a boat inspection program now used throughout the basin to keep watercraft from carrying the harmful species into the lake.