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May 10, 2012
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Lake Tahoe roadside boat inspection stations open for season

TAHOE — Roadside stations for inspections and decontaminations of motorized boats and watercraft are officially open for the 2012 boating season at five locations entering the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“Boat inspections are critical to maintaining the health of Lake Tahoe and our local recreation-based economy,” said Ted Thayer, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s aquatic invasive species coordinator. “Through the efforts of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s well-trained inspectors and other private and public partners committed to the Lake, we expect to have another successful season.”

All motorized boats and watercraft require inspection for aquatic invasive species (AIS) prior to launching into Lake Tahoe. Quagga and zebra mussels are especially problematic, as they 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. 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 water bodies. Knowingly transporting AIS into Lake Tahoe is against the law, and violators may be subject to fines.

Locations and hours

• Highway 267, at Northstar Drive south of Truckee (open 8 a.m.-6 p.m.)

• Highway 89, at Alpine Meadows Road north of Tahoe City (open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)

• Highway 89, at Homewood Resort on Lake Tahoe's west shore (open 8 a.m.-6 p.m.)

• Meyers, at the junction of U.S. 50 and Highway 89 (open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)

• Spooner Summit, at the junction of U.S. 50 and Highway 28 in Nevada (open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)

A reminder of the need for watercraft inspections occurred on April 18, when inspectors at the Meyers roadside inspection station detected more than 40 zebra mussels on a boat. A Lake Tahoe resident, who had offered the boat for inspection training purposes, had recently purchased it from the Great Lakes. The boat was immediately quarantined by the California Department of Fish and Game and decontaminated by Tahoe RCD staff multiple times using 140-degree hot water and until it was completely cleared of all signs of invasive species.

Boaters are encouraged to clean, drain, and dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations in order to save everyone time and money, according to Kim Boyd, invasive species and biological resources program manager for Tahoe RCD.

Annual watercraft inspection fees range from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The annual “Tahoe Only” sticker fee remains unchanged from 2011. An additional fee of $25 is being charged for any boat requiring decontamination.

Visit TahoeBoatInspections.com or call 888-824-6267 for updates, details and information or follow @TahoeBoating on Twitter for real-time updates.

About the Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program

The Watercraft Inspection Program is part of the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program which is implemented by 40 public and private partner organizations including federal, state and local jurisdictions, research partners, public utility districts, and private marinas. The state, federal and local agencies comprising the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinating Committee have provided leadership, direction and resources to fulfill this program’s mission of prevention, detection and control of aquatic invasive species in the Lake Tahoe Region.

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s (Tahoe RCD) mission is to promote the conservation and improvement of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s soil, water and related natural resources by providing leadership, information, programs, and technical assistance to all land managers, owners, organizations, and residents. The Tahoe RCD is a non-regulatory, grant funded, public agency that works with a variety of partner agencies to implement projects, programs and outreach which currently focus on erosion control, runoff infiltration, terrestrial and aquatic invasive species control, and conservation landscaping. For additional information, contact Pete Brumis at 530-543-1501 or pbrumis@TahoeRCD.org.

— Submitted to aedgett@sierasun.com

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 10, 2012 05:12PM Published May 10, 2012 04:59PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.