Invasive species inspection stations open Monday
A decade of checking boats has helped keep Lake Tahoe clear of aquatic invasive species.
“Entering our 10th season with no new invasions, boat inspections are clearly doing what they are intended to do, protect Lake Tahoe,” said Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s aquatic resources program manager. “The Tahoe RCD boat inspectors have allowed us to be ready for any invaders that try to come our way.”
Roadside stations at Spooner Summit, Meyers and Alpine Meadows are opening Monday for inspections and decontamination of motorized boats for the 2017 boating season
The Truckee Tahoe station will open May 17. All stations are open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.
All motorized watercraft require inspection for aquatic invasive species prior to launching into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lake.
“Invasive species, such as quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and hydrilla, are known to multiply quickly and colonize underwater surfaces, including docks and piers, water supply and filtration systems, buoys, moored boats, and even the beautiful rocky shoreline,” officials said. “They destroy fish habitat, ruin boat engines, and can negatively impact water quality and the local economy, recreation, and ecosystem. Boats and other watercraft are the largest transporters of AIS, and the inspection program is critical to preventing their spread into Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies. Knowingly transporting AIS into Lake Tahoe is against the law, and violators may be subject to monetary penalties.”
In 2016, Tahoe RCD inspectors inspected over 8,000 vessels and decontaminated approximately half of them. Throughout the season inspectors found 39 vessels containing foreign species such as mussels, snails and plant material.
“Boaters are encouraged to clean, drain, and dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations in order to save time and money,” according to Nicole Cartwright, AIS program coordinator for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. “Make sure to drain all water, even water from your garden hose used to flush. Taking these three simple steps will get you on the water faster.”
Annual watercraft inspection fees remain unchanged from last year. The “Tahoe In & Out” inspection ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The “Tahoe Only” inspection sticker is $30. An additional fee of $35 is charged for any boat requiring decontamination and an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags.