Photo – Sonoma County Water Agency staff and mussel-detecting dogs Tugboat and Jetty with their handlers celebrate receiving a mobile boat decontamination unit from Lake Tahoe.
[From left to right Hailey Norman, Sonoma Water; Tugboat (Canine), Bogar Celis, Mussel Dogs; Beth Steinkraus, Mussel Dogs; Jetty (Canine)
Lake Tahoe, NV/CA – Lake Tahoe aquatic invasive species (AIS) watercraft inspection agencies recently donated a mobile boat decontamination unit to a nearby program at Lake Sonoma to help stop the spread of invasive species, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) said today.
The donated equipment allows inspectors to apply 140-degree water to boats, trailers, engines, and storage areas to kill any living invasive plant or animal without harming equipment. The Tahoe program no longer needed the mobile unit as they now have permanent equipment at several inspection stations.
Lake Tahoe’s AIS prevention program, managed by TRPA and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, is one of the leading programs in the nation and looked to as a model of collaborative conservation for other prevention programs. Invasive species threaten to wreak havoc on Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem, economy, and recreation experience. Boaters and paddlers help protect Lake Tahoe and other waters by always keeping their watercraft Clean, Drained, and Dry.
“We are seeing more and more boats coming from nearby waterbodies that have been infested with invasive plants and animals,” said Thomas Boos, who directs the inspection program for TRPA. “We’re always happy to help our fellow AIS programs across the state, which in turn can help protect Lake Tahoe.”
Since the program’s inception in 2008, inspectors have thoroughly checked every boat launched in the Lake Tahoe Region and have decontaminated thousands. In that time, no new aquatic invasive species have been detected, although they have been in many neighboring water bodies.
“When Tahoe put the word out to see if anyone wanted them, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Sonoma County Water Agency Assistant General Manager Brad Sherwood. “Our reservoir provides water to 600,000 people and the introduction of invasive mussels could destroy our infrastructure, costing millions of dollars a year and impacting our scenery.”
The unit will help Lake Sonoma decontaminate boats harboring invasive species prior to launch, similar to the process at Lake Tahoe. Boaters can follow the Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@TahoeBoating) or online at tahoeboatinspections.com.
The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program is implemented by 40 public and private partner organizations, including federal, state, and local jurisdictions, research partners, public utility districts, and private marinas. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District lead the program in collaboration with the public and private partners. The program’s mission is to prevent, detect, and control aquatic invasive species in the region so that future generations can enjoy Lake Tahoe. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Public Information Officer, via email or at 775-589-5278.