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Contact: Jeff Cowen, 775-589-5278
For Immediate Release: July 6, 2020
Agencies Seek Public Input on Tahoe Keys Control Methods Test Project
South Lake Tahoe, CA — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board are seeking community input on the environmental review of the Tahoe Keys aquatic weeds test project.
The test project evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed control methods test and project alternatives. This project proposed by the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) will analyze which combination of treatment methods most effectively control aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys lagoons and protect Lake Tahoe.
The aquatic weed infestation covers over 90 percent of the Tahoe Keys lagoons in the summer and has compromised water quality and degraded other uses within the area. The weed growth impedes boating, is hazardous to swimmers, contributes to sediment loading, releases nutrients that can contribute to harmful algal blooms, and provides sources of continuing infestations of aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe. Despite the considerable management and financial investment of the property owners to control this problem, weeds continue to spread, and management costs continue to mount.
“We’ve been investing private homeowner funds every year to remove invasive plants and contain their spread into Lake Tahoe, but the weeds just keep growing,” lamented Andy Kopania, chairperson of the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association Water Quality Committee. “We have been pursuing a range of creative solutions for several years and are really happy to have TRPA and Lahontan working with us to address this challenge.”
The proposed project includes myriad approaches:
- Testing aquatic herbicides
- Small-scale control methods (such as bottom barriers and diver-assisted suction)
- Innovative methods such as ultraviolet light and laminar flow aeration. Lake Tahoe was the first location these methods were used to treat aquatic weeds.
The proposed project will help determine which combination of methods is most effective in controlling aquatic weeds within the Tahoe Keys lagoons.
Aquatic weeds affect multiple areas around Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Keys lagoon encompass over 170 acres, (including 900 private docks, accounting for much of Lake Tahoe’s boat traffic). For perspective, the Tahoe Keys comprise 75 percent of all aquatic plant infestations in the Lake. Due to the sheer size of the infestation and the number of boats leaving the area, the Tahoe Keys are a likely source for new infestations around the lake.
“TRPA and Lahontan are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for interested citizens and organizations to provide input on the proposed test for managing aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys lagoons,” said Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta. “We want to ensure that the public process remains inclusive and robust to best serve our communities.”
To read the Notice of Availability and comment on the draft environmental document, visit www.tahoekeysweeds.org. The public comment period has been doubled from 30 to 60 days to allow adequate time to provide comments and feedback. Comments must be submitted or posted before midnight on September 3, 2020.
Due to the need to protect public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the lead agencies will conduct three public meetings as interactive online webinars. These webinars will provide an overview of the proposed project, project alternatives, and the analysis of potential environmental impacts. Each webinar will have dedicated time for public comments.
TRPA Governing Board Meeting
July 22, 2020
Project Overview, Q&A
August 11, 2020
TRPA Advisory Planning Commission Meeting
August 12, 2020
Learn more about the project and public workshops at www.tahoekeysweeds.org.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.