Tahoe Keys to apply for herbicide trial in effort to fight aquatic invasive species | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Keys to apply for herbicide trial in effort to fight aquatic invasive species

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) recently announced it is seeking a permit to test herbicides in 2018 as a way to combat aquatic invasive plants — an ongoing (and longtime) issue in the 172-acre lagoon system.

Aquatic invasive plants, primarily curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil, have taken over more than 90 percent of the Tahoe Keys and present an immediate threat to Lake Tahoe.

“These plants threaten the lake’s ecosystems, the water’s clarity, and our recreation and economy,” said Dr. Lars Anderson, UC Davis aquatic plant expert.

“In spite of ongoing efforts, they continue to grow in the Keys, and with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center’s State of the Lake Report showing record-breaking increases in lake temperatures, the threat to Lake Tahoe is greater than ever.”

Between 13,400 and 18,600 cubic yards of weeds have been removed annually since 2011. The plants have also become home to non-native warm-water aquatic species including goldfish, catfish and bullfrogs.

Stakeholders have been combating the issue for more than 25 years, using a variety of plant-fighting methods, including harvesting and fragment collection, dredging, bottom barrier mats, rotovating, dewatering, nutrient reduction and other biological controls.

Results from these efforts have been mixed — and costly.

TKPOA’s harvesting attempts amount to roughly $400,000 a year, while the harvesting process itself also generates 4,000 plant fragments per acre harvested, which could go on to regrow elsewhere if not properly collected.

A decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last September determined that some herbicides may be approved for use on a case-by-case basis in Lake Tahoe, paving the way for a new method of invasive species control in the Keys.

“This is one evaluation of one method the association is considering in our comprehensive plan to gain control over the invasive plants,” said John Larson, chair of the association’s Water Quality Committee.

If approved, the association would apply low levels of three herbicides — Endothall, Triclopyr and Penoxsulam — at nine test sites in 2018. The test sites would cover about 13 acres, or eight percent, of the Keys and would be in dead-end lagoons far from the lake.

According to TKPOA, the test sites would have multiple surface-to-bottom barriers to ensure the herbicides, which are considered nontoxic to humans, fish and wildlife, would not reach the lake.

Additionally, they would be diluted to between 0.02 and 2 parts per million, or about half the maximum concentrations allowed by the EPA.

“We understand that people have strong feelings about the potential use of herbicides in the Keys. We also understand, however, that to really address the aquatic invasive plant issue not only in the Keys lagoons but for all of Lake Tahoe, we must be willing, as a community, to try a variety of state-of-the art tools to see what combination of options are best for moving forward.” Larson said.

“What we are announcing is a test to evaluate another method that could be important for our tool box to gain control of the infestations in the Keys’ lagoons.”

TKPOA pointed to dye studies conducted in 2011 and 2016, which demonstrated that water movement would not carry the substances into Lake Tahoe during the test period.

The herbicides also break down by light, microbial action and other processes within a few days to two weeks.

Dr. Sudeep Chandra, a professor at University of Nevada, Reno who specializes in aquatic ecosystems and has studied the Keys extensively, agrees that it is necessary to use all available tools to combat the issue of invasive species.

Chandra, who coauthored an implementation plan for control of aquatic species in Lake Tahoe in 2015 with Dr. Marion Wittmann, said it’s a complicated decision with emotional ties.

“It’s a complex subject, including complex feelings on my emotional side, my non-science side. We’ve watched the Tahoe Keys build a population of invasive species and plants. We know there is a problem and the Keys is at the heart of it,” said Chandra.

“On the science side, we need to have as many tools to combat this as possible.”

At the time that Chandra’s implementation plan came out in June 2015, the use of herbicides was not an option.

“I would suggest that if this plan or policy is moved forward to use herbicides or pesticides for invasive specifies control that there is ample resources for scientists to monitor its impact on the native species and other parts of the lake,” he noted.

“It’s very important for scientist to be supported when we are implementing these large changes.”

TRPA spokesman Tom Lotshaw said that as a region, the best options for managing invasive species in Lake Tahoe are still being investigated, and may vary by species and from site to site around the lake.

The organization, he said, will thoroughly assess the environmental impacts of testing these herbicides in the Tahoe Keys.

“Even a limited pilot project to test aquatic herbicides as a way to kill invasive weeds in waters adjoining Lake Tahoe would be a first for our region,” said Lotshaw.

“TRPA is committed to looking carefully at this request and any issues that may be associated with it as we also look to protect our environment and our residents and visitors and make continued headway in fighting aquatic invasive species at Lake Tahoe.”

Other lakes that have used these herbicides include Discovery Bay south of the California Delta, Big Bear Lake in Southern California, Clear Lake in Northern California, Loomis Lake in Washington, and areas within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

On Nov. 1 a public workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the South Tahoe Public Utility Building (1275 Meadow Crest Drive) to educate the public on the efforts made to combat aquatic invasive species in the Keys.

The Tahoe Keys was created in the late 1950s by dredging an estimated 5 million cubic yards of material from the marsh at the mouth of the Upper Truckee River. The effort destroyed much of the river’s marsh, a major filtration system from Lake Tahoe’s largest tributary.

Farmer releases reference book for Tahoe gardening

Have a green thumb, but think gardening and farming are impossible in the Sierras? Never fear — Gary Romano, whose 65-acre farm is located north of Truckee, recently released a new book, “July & Winter: Growing Food in the Sierra,” in which he shares his knowledge and experience growing food in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“My motivation at first was to get more young people involved in farming. Anything over 3,000 feet elevation people said wasn’t an option because they thought it was too difficult to do. I thought it would be a good starting point for a lot of people to have hope that you can garden from 3,000 up to 7- or 8,000 feet,” Romano said.

Romano is a third-generation farmer who grew up in the Bay Area. His childhood was filled with pulling weeds and planting seeds, and after working as a park ranger and county park administrator, he returned to the farm. The book title itself comes from a phrase Romano’s uncle used to say on the farm when he was younger.

“He used to say all you have up here in the Sierras is July and winter. July is summer and every other month is winter. I thought that was an appropriate title for the book,” said Romano, who now owns Sierra Valley Farms in Beckwourth.

“July & Winter” covers an array of topics, ranging from varieties of vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries suitable for the region, to when and how to plant, to biodiversity benefits and how to extend the growing season. The reference book also includes tips for working with soil, water and nutrients for any site.

“[Sierra Valley Farms] is a good reference for what the Sierras [are] all about. We’re at 5,000 feet — mid-range of what my book covers. We have a cold climate I can relate to, we do have snow, so we deal with how to handle a fair amount of snow — not like Tahoe, but pretty close. I thought [the book] would be a good starting point for the average person trying to garden in Tahoe or Yosemite — it follows the whole Sierra Mountain Range,” Romano said.

The book begins with elementary points of gardening, and works its way to more advanced material.

“There are some beginning points for the general public, but then in the appendix we have a whole section set up for small farmers on how to set up a mountain farm.

Most of the book is for the gardener or homeowner, anybody wanting to garden, and in the appendix it’s set up for small farmers who maybe want to go the next step, farm for hobby, living, second job, or just for their own use,” Romano said.

He calls the book comprehensive, saying it’s useful for any farm size, and farmers and gardeners living outside the Sierra can also utilize the techniques discussed.

Romano has written one other book, “Why I Farm: Risking It All for a Life on the Land,” which published just over three years ago. While it is not necessary to read his first book before picking up “July & Winter,” he says they tie together and make a good pair.

“[‘Why I Farm’] is about the philosophy of being a farmer and the challenges ahead. This book coming out now is the tools for how to do it,” Romano explained.

“July & Winter: Growing Food in the Sierra” is available for purchase online, as well as through publisher Bona Fide Books and local South Lake Tahoe shop Gaia-Licious Global Gifts.

For more information about the book and publisher, visit www.bonafidebooks.com. To learn more about Romano, visit www.sierravalleyfarms.com.

New law allows Californians to rescue pets from hot cars

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that allows Californians to rescue animals trapped in hot cars without fear of prosecution.

The bill signed on Saturday lets citizens smash car windows to set the pets free as long as there is no other way to rescue them.

That means rescuers can break into the car if the animal appears to be in peril, the car is locked and law enforcement is not arriving quickly enough.

The rescuer must stay at the scene until law enforcement respond to the situation.

The bill was introduced after a series of incidents in which dogs died after being left in closed cars on hot days.

Cocktails for a Cause draws supportive crowd; Krista’s Cause cocktail wins

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — It was a festive, yet reflective evening at the Barton Foundation’s 7th annual Cocktails for a Cause fundraiser. More than two hundred revelers gathered at Riva Grill to sample cocktails made by local mixologists and raise more than $8,000 for Barton Health’s Cancer Wellness Program.

Seven mixologists each created drinks with Tahoe Blue Vodka that symbolized a different cancer ribbon. Bartenders from Azul Latin Kitchen, Boathouse on the Pier, Chart House, Cold Water Brewery, Heavenly Mountain Resort, LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits and Riva Grill participated.

As attendees judged and voted with their dollars, many mixologists shared pictures and stories of loved ones affected by their cancer cause. For Ryan Parker, the brewmaster at Cold Water Brewery, his story was personal. Six weeks ago, his wife Rose was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

“I know that most of these people [attending the event] are surrounded by cancer, whether it’s a family member, a friend or neighbor,” said Ryan. “A fundraiser like this brings us all together with a common purpose and to celebrate life with one another.”

Ryan did have something to celebrate when his co-worker, Jacob Craig, received the most tips and was recognized as Most Congenial Bartender. The Cold Water team served The Magic of Pixie Dust, a periwinkle concoction featuring a stem of candied lavender and a rim of pixie stick sugar.

In a new twist this year, celebrity judges determined the Best Cocktail. Criteria included originality, taste, use of Tahoe Blue Vodka, presentation, and connection to their cancer cause. Gary Gamprie and James Olson of LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits received the honor for their mauve fruit smoothie, Krista’s Cause, named after his South Lake Tahoe friend Krista Carson battling brain cancer.

“This is my sixth year in this contest and when I found out the theme, I immediately thought of Krista,” said Gary, who lived with Krista’s husband nearly 25 years ago.

This is the first victory for LewMarNel’s Steaks & Spirits and Gary Gamprie. Krista’s Cause will be featured as the signature cocktail the Barton Foundation’s 25th annual Gala at the Festival of Trees & Lights in December.

Barton Health is dedicated to the delivery of consistently exceptional care to community members and visitors. Barton Health’s Cancer Wellness Program will address the social, emotional, and functional aspects of a patient’s cancer journey through supportive services, such as massage, exercise, psychotherapy, and nutrition classes. The program will be offered free of charge to community members undergoing cancer treatment.

Letter: BEAR League board member says, ‘We are not making this up’

The BEAR League appreciates any time the local press sheds light on issues that hold back our Lake Tahoe Basin community from being a place where coexistence with wildlife in our urban/wild-land environment can be a reality.

In a recent Tahoe Daily Tribune article, the BEAR League was named multiple times and yet the BEAR League’s Executive Director, Ann Bryant, was not contacted for a statement.

As a BEAR League board member and volunteer, I want to take this opportunity to address two points made in the article.

As to the public safety issue, not one person has ever been killed by a wild black bear in California or Nevada. Furthermore, I want to add the BEAR League has never stated that black bears are nothing more than teddy bears.

The BEAR League and our trained responders know very well that black bears are capable of damage if trapped in close quarters with no escape. Our literature reinforces this.

As to Nevada Department of Wildlife’s comments about their relocation program, they are categorically untrue.

For the 10 years prior to 2010, (one year before the bear hunt started as the bear hunt started in 2011) only one bear was moved to this new hunt zone.

From Oct. 26, 2010 to Sept. 16, 2015 (the last date of information on trapping and relocating data we’ve received from public records requests), 27 bears have been relocated from the Tahoe Alpine environment to multiple popular bear hunts units.

We are not making this up. This is the data supplied by NDOW. Last year 50 percent of Tahoe trapped bears were relocated to a hunt zone unit.

As for the killing of bears that NDOW considers “nuisance bears,” why do they more often than not end up being yearlings?

Toogee Sielsch

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: ‘Please join me in supporting Jason Collin for South Lake Tahoe City Council’

In a crowded field of city council candidates, Jason Collin stands out.

I have known Jason for the past six years. Jason is young, energetic and willing to collaborate with others to get things done. Our city will benefit by someone who has the ability to unite our council leadership, improve the culture of our community and set a positive vision for our community’s future.

I’ve worked with Jason in a variety of team environments. He is the kind of person that you want on your team both as a leader and as a collaborator. Jason leads by example, gives valuable insights and is extremely positive.

Please join me in supporting Jason Collin for South Lake Tahoe City Council.

Ryan Galles

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Collin still committed to council candidacy after fatal Kingsbury Grade crash on Friday

A head-on collision on Kingsbury Grade resulted in the death of one driver and serious injuries for several others, including South Lake Tahoe City Council candidate Jason Collin.

Collin, his wife Natalie and several others were in an RV headed to Mammoth on Friday, Sept. 23 when they were struck by a Nissan Pathfinder headed in the opposite direction. The collision was reported at 1:21 p.m.

The group was headed to test a running route for an upcoming event by Epic Tahoe Adventures, of which Collin is “Chief Officer of Awesomeness.” He also works as Barton Health’s Director of Home Health and Hospice.

The driver of the Pathfinder, 47-year-old Carrie Hilderbrand of Wellington, Nevada, died from her injuries at the hospital. She was the only occupant in the car.

Collin and Hilderbrand were transported by air ambulance, while three of the RV passengers were taken away by ground ambulance. At least two people had to be cut from the wreckage, reported the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The Nevada Highway Patrol’s preliminary investigation indicated that Hilderbrand allowed her car to drift over the double yellow lines, and ultimately strike the left front of the motorhome, driven by Collin.

At this time, it is not known if drug or alcohol impairment factored into the accident, but the investigation by the highway patrol is ongoing. Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts.


“Jason sustained serious injuries in the crash yesterday resulting in both legs being broken and shattered in various places from the knee down. He has had 2 successful surgeries so far and has one more scheduled for Monday. He is in excellent spirits and is recovering well and will hopefully be released next week,” according to a Facebook post by Epic Tahoe Adventures on Sept. 24.

“His wife Natalie also broke a finger in the accident but was treated and released yesterday, and is by Jason’s side. The Collin family appreciates the outpouring of support and love the community has shown.”

On Sept. 25 Collin posted on Facebook himself thanking everyone for the support.

“I am doing pretty well considering everything that’s happened. I had surgery to straighten out my right leg today. And I will have surgery Monday to straighten out my left ankle,” he wrote.

Collin still is committed to running for city council, said his wife Natalie on Sept. 26.

“The accident might slow down his campaign a bit, but his spirits are high and he continues to be optimistic about running for city council. He is still committed to being part of positive change in Tahoe,” said Natalie.

“We are completely focused on his recovery. Fingers crossed he gets home by the end of the week.”

Nevada wildfire north of Reno now 78 square miles

RENO — A series of wildfires continues to grow in northern Nevada, where about 800 firefighters are working to stop flames that had threatened a tribal town and nearby hamlets near Pyramid Lake, about 35 miles north of Reno.

A fire spokeswoman, Jesse Bender, said Monday the overall fire area is now about 78 square miles.

She says one firefighter reported a minor injury.

Residents in about 30 homes in Cottonwood Creek and Fish Springs Ranch have been told they’ll get a 30-minute notice to evacuate if necessary.

About 600 people were ordered out of the shoreline town of Sutcliffe during the weekend, and 200 were evacuated from beach areas.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal officials say six houses and mobile homes, two vehicles and several out-buildings at historic Hardscrabble Ranch burned.

Grand opening set for Carson Tahoe Health’s new breast center

It has been reported one in eight American women will battle breast cancer during their lifetime. And studies show the best defense against breast cancer is early detection. With this in mind, Carson Tahoe is excited to announce the grand opening of a new comprehensive breast exam center.

The new center, opening in August, will offer patients easy access to the latest breast imaging and diagnostics services currently available in the region.

The Carson Tahoe Breast Center is located in North Carson City on the Carson Tahoe Medical Campus, inside Sierra Surgery.

This innovative patient-centered model of care features 3-D Tomosynthesis Mammography, the most advanced form of diagnostic tests available for breast cancer screening. This leading-edge technology is also vital for women with dense breast tissue as it sees beyond the dense tissue to find hidden tumors. Additional services include: Breast MRI, Breast Ultrasound, Breast Biopsy, and Dexa Bone Density, all in an ultra-modern healing environment.

“We are thrilled to offer this essential service to our community,” said Michelle Joy, vice president and chief operating officer at Carson Tahoe Health. “The center provides patients with a seamless integration of preventive and diagnostic services in a tranquil, compassionate setting. We feel very fortunate to have the unique opportunity to provide state-of-the-art care, close to home.”

Carson Tahoe also recently added 3-D Tomosynthesis Mammography technology at Minden Medical Center to benefit Douglas County patients.

A grand opening celebration, open to the community, is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at Sierra Surgery, 1400 Medical Parkway.

To learn more about the innovative treatments coming to the new Carson Tahoe Breast Center or the grand opening celebration, go to www.CarsonTahoe.com/BreastCenter.

Search for missing Northern California hiker on hold after volunteer shot

WASHINGTON, Calif. — Citing safety concerns, Northern California authorities put on hold the search for a missing hiker while they seek to find a gunman who shot and wounded a volunteer rescuer.

The rescuer was in stable condition Wednesday with a hip wound, and crews worked late Tuesday to bring him to a site where a rescue helicopter could land, said Paul Schmidt, operations captain for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal told the Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/2aK8mFz ) that helicopter crews plan to use heat-detecting devices to try to locate the shooter.

Authorities have not identified the wounded man.

The missing hiker is not believed to have any involvement in the shooting.

Immediately after the shooting, the wounded man and two colleagues took cover in a wooded area to await rescue.

The three volunteers with the Placer County Search and Rescue team were among several groups looking for the 75-year-old hiker reported missing along the South Yuba River near the rural town of Washington, about 75 miles west of Reno, Nevada, when the shooting occurred.

Schmidt said it wasn’t clear what prompted the shooting.

“We have absolutely no information on who or why,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.