Aquatic Invasive Species
To learn about the September 2023 discovery of New Zealand Mudsnail in Lake Tahoe, please click here.
Lake Tahoe faces a constant and serious threat from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). AIS can devastate aquatic ecosystems, and negatively impact the recreation opportunities that drive Lake Tahoe’s economy.
The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program’s mission is to prevent, detect, and control aquatic invasive species in the region so that future generations can enjoy Lake Tahoe. TRPA and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District lead the program in collaboration with the public and private partners.
Visit https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/EIPProgram/Detail/4 to learn more about this program.
Watercraft Inspection Program
Since 2008, the nationally recognized Watercraft Inspection Program has prevented new AIS from entering the lake. The program calls for the inspection of all motorized watercraft to ensure new AIS, such as quagga and zebra mussels, are not introduced.
The Tahoe Keepers free self-inspection and decontamination training program provides paddlers with the information needed to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. Paddlers can also find maps and planning resources for the Lake Tahoe Water Trail at https://laketahoewatertrail.org/
For more information about launching a boat or paddle craft in Lake Tahoe, visit tahoeboatinspections.com.
Aquatic Invasive Species Control
Once invasive species enter the ecosystem they crowd out native populations, impair habitats and water quality, and reduce recreational opportunities. TRPA oversees projects that reduce and eradicate populations of invasive aquatic weeds, asian clams, non-native fish, bullfrogs, or other identified species. Projects also include pilot projects and the rapid response to new locations of AIS infestations to prevent further spread.
Visit https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/EIPActionPriority/Detail/14 to learn more about current and past projects.
TRPA and its partners have embarked on a goal of significantly reducing aquatic invasive species throughout the region over the next 10 years, as described in the Lake Tahoe AIS Control Action Agenda (Summary and complete document).
The 2015 Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Implementation Plan lists the Tahoe Keys lagoons as the highest priority areas for control of AIS in Lake Tahoe. Learn more about solutions to control weeds in the Tahoe Keys by visiting https://tahoekeysweeds.org/
Innovative tools are an important component of controlling AIS in Lake Tahoe. The use of Ultraviolet-C light (UV-C) has been pioneered in Lake Tahoe and the results of the second pilot have helped identify treatment protocols for the Tahoe Keys Lagoons Aquatic Weed Control Methods Test. Results of the second pilot test can be found in the 2021 Final Monitoring Report UV-C Light Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Pilot Project (and Appendices).
Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan and Other Documents
Lake Tahoe already hosts several aquatic invasive species. TRPA leads a collaborative effort to control existing invasive species, which costs millions of dollars every year. The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (see here for Plan Appendices) aims to:
- Prevent new introductions of AIS to the Tahoe Region
- Limit the spread of existing AIS populations in the Tahoe Region, by employing strategies that minimize threats to native species, and extirpate existing AIS populations when possible
- Abate harmful ecological, economic, social and public health impacts resulting from AIS
Routine monitoring for existing species is important to track success of treatment efforts.
- Surveillance monitoring is guided by the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Plant Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
- Results of the 2018 lakewide survey can be found in the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Plant Monitoring Program 2018 Status Report