Boaters leaving Lake Tahoe must remove drain plug | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Boaters leaving Lake Tahoe must remove drain plug

In this 2008 file photo, Lt. Christy Wurster of the California Department of Fish and Game demonstrates the use of a mussel-sniffing dog during a training session for invasive-species inspectors that was held last week at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency office.

In a move to cut down on the transportation of invasive species, boats leaving Lake Tahoe must have their drain plugs removed.

The requirement, which is in line with recent changes by entities including the Nevada Department of Wildlife, is part of increased prevention methods approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board this past week, according to a press release.

The changes came following the discovery of quagga mussels — an invasive species responsible for billions of dollars in negative economic impact to waterways nationwide — by Lake Tahoe boat inspectors on a watercraft at the Alpine Meadows Inspection Station May 14.

According to TRPA, California Department of Fish and Wildlife quarantined the boat for several days, and Tahoe Resource Conservation District staff performed multiple decontaminations before the boat was released to the owner.

"The board's decision this week requiring boaters to remove drain plugs from their watercraft after leaving the water is a critical step in the continued protection of all lakes against the threat of aquatic invasive species," Dennis Zabaglo, TRPA aquatic resources program manager, said in the press release. "The drain plug rule is consistent with direction from fish and wildlife agencies across the West."

Boaters must remove drain plugs as boats leave the lake, which will help prevent the spread of existing aquatic invasive species within the lake. Removal of drain plugs while traveling will assist boaters in arriving at boat inspection stations clean, drained and dry.

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Additional TRPA code updates emphasize that willful attempts to launch without inspection and the use of stolen inspection seals are prohibited. For information on Lake Tahoe boat inspections, visit http://www.tahoeboatinspections.com.