Boaters want to rip weed from waters | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Boaters want to rip weed from waters

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A weed that strangles more than $200,000 a year from the pockets of Tahoe Keys property owners will be discussed by regional water quality officials Wednesday in Tahoe City.

Called the Eurasian watermilfoil, it begins to twist around boat motors each spring when it wakes from a winter sleep. The Tahoe Keys Property Owners’ Association spends thousands of dollars each growing season, from May to October, to mow and collect the weed.

Now a U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist who studies exotic and invasive plants has requested permission to test three herbicides at the Keys to combat the watermilfoil. His request for a similar permit was rejected early last year.

“What changed is that they now have a formal proposal,” said Jason Churchill, environmental scientist at the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The test project proposed by botanist Lars Anderson is backed by the property owners’ association. He is proposing tests at 15 spots, each about 2 acres.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board will conduct a public hearing regarding the project on Wednesday at the Tahoe City Public Utility District at 221 Fairway Drive.

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The public hearing will start sometime after 7:30 p.m. Lahontan is not expected to make a decision on whether or not to permit the study, Churchill said.

“We want to be a team player with (Anderson),” said Rob Evans, controller and acting general manager for the property owners’ association. “If they could eliminate the weed, that would be fantastic. It would not only be a cost savings, but it would beautify the lake.”

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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