Tahoe Invasive Species boat inspections program gets funding

The money committees on Wednesday voted to join California in making up the loss of federal funds for the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species boat inspection program.

That will cost each state $375,000 a year. TRPA officials say the cost of the boat inspection program is about $1.5 million annually. Half of that comes from inspection fees, boat decontamination and the sale of annual stickers. The other half has been coming from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. Staff informed a joint committee of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees that $750,000 won’t be available in the coming two years. TRPA officials said increasing the inspection program and other fees would negatively impact recreational boating and the economy of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

With the approval of $375,000 each year by each state, those fees won’t have to increase in the coming budget cycle.

In addition, the joint committee approved $345,000 from the General Fund to pay Nevada’s share of costs associated with the TRPA requirement to monitor and report on environmental thresholds in the basin. California’s proposed budget contains a like amount for that program.

The program reports every four years on 150 different environmental indicators of conditions in the basin.

The total funding will allow TRPA to contract for $690,000 in services to collect necessary data and analyze it. The work will be completed in fiscal 2016 so the bulk of the money will only be needed for the first year of the biennium. There’s a nominal appropriation of $25,000 from each state for fiscal 2017.

Under the bi-state compact that provides for TRPA, Nevada is to pay a third of general operating costs while California covers the remaining two-thirds. The invasive species and environmental monitoring programs, however, are divided equally and skew those percentages slightly.

As a result, the total funding for TRPA for the coming two years is $13.54 million, of which $4.28 million comes from Nevada and $9.36 million from California — 31 compared to 69 percent.


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