LAKE TAHOE — Lake Tahoe watercraft inspectors intercepted a boat on Wednesday with quagga mussels and an unidentified snail species hiding in the anchor locker, officials said.
The boat, coming from Lake Mead, a known quagga-infested water body, was inspected at the Spooner Summit station, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Inspectors with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District notified the Nevada Department of Wildlife before fully decontaminating the boat and clearing it to launch in Lake Tahoe.
“The fact that this boat was predominantly cleaned, drained and dry, yet inspectors still found the mussel encrusted in mud on the anchor, is significant and proves that the rigorous Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program is working,” Dennis Zabaglo, TRPA’s Aquatic Resources Program Manager, said in a statement. “This also serves as a reminder for boaters to check all compartments of their boats.”
Over the Fourth of July holiday, more than 725 boats were screened for invasive species at four inspection stations surrounding the lake, according to TRPA, a 17 percent increase from 2013.
Since the start of the summer boating season in May 2014, Tahoe inspectors now have intercepted 24 boats containing invasive species, nearly a 100 percent increase from the 13 boats that had been intercepted as of July 1.
Eight contained invasive mussels, and another four were carrying several different snail species, officials said.
TRCD, in partnership with TRPA, instituted boat inspections in 2008 to prevent the introduction of invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels into the lake. The locust-like mollusks (and other invasives) could wreak havoc on Tahoe’s environment and economy, according to previous reports.
In 2013, the Tahoe program inspected and certified more than 14,000 motorized watercraft that were free of invasive species.
For more information, visit TahoeBoatInspections.com.