LAKE TAHOE — Officials in 2012 have stopped four boats with invasive species attached to them from entering Lake Tahoe, two of which came directly from the mussel-infested waters of Lake Mead in Southern Nevada, officials said Friday.
According to a Friday morning press release from the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, officials at the Meyers inspection station on June 18 flagged a 28-foot pleasure boat for having dead quagga mussels attached to its transom (stern area).
On May 26, officials at the Alpine Meadows inspection station intercepted a 28-foot fishing boat with more than 50 live and dead quagga mussels present in the vessel's water intakes and the raw water system.
According TRCD, both owners said their respective watercraft last visited Lake Mead, located just east of Las Vegas, which has been infested with quagga mussels since 2007.
A third boat potentially carrying New Zealand mudsnails from Oregon was halted before entering Lake Tahoe, according to TRCD.
Three phone messages to Pete Brumis, TRCD public outreach specialist, seeking further comment about the incidents were not returned for this story.
The three incidents come after inspector trainees discovered a 29-foot-long Sea Ray boat at the Meyers roadside station on April 18 with more than 40 adult zebra mussels and some unidentified weeds primarily around the engines on the back of the vessel. That boat was believed to have last visited the Great Lakes, which have been infested with invasive species for years.
All the vessels were decontaminated by Lake Tahoe boat inspectors and cleared by California Fish and Game officials.
“The fact that several Tahoe-bound boats with invasive species present have already been intercepted this year underscores the importance of watercraft inspection programs and the strong work by Lake Tahoe boat inspectors with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District,” said Dennis Zabaglo, Watercraft Program Manager with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, in a statement.
Last August, inspectors at the Spooner Summit roadside station prevented a vessel with 37 quagga mussels on it from entering Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe instituted boat inspections in 2008 to prevent the introduction of invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels into the lake. The locust-like mollusks could wreak havoc on Tahoe's environment and economy, according to previous reports.
With the Fourth of July week approaching, boat inspections are of utmost importance, Zabaglo said.
“It's important that boaters do their part and clean, drained and dry their boats before arriving at inspection stations,” he said. “Inspectors see more than one third of annual boat traffic during the summer holidays, so arriving clean, drained and dry will help save time and will also avoid a fee for decontaminating watercraft.”
The five inspection stations are as follows: Meyers, at the junction of US 50 and Highway 89 in California; Spooner Summit, at the junction of US 50 and Highway 28 in Nevada; Highway 267, at Northstar Drive near Truckee; Highway 89, at Alpine Meadows Road near Tahoe City; and Highway 89, at Homewood Resort on Lake Tahoe's West Shore.
Visit TahoeBoatInspections.com or call 888-824-6267 for updates, details and information, or follow @TahoeBoating on Twitter for real-time updates.