Panel to focus on aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Panel to focus on aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys

Greyson Howard
Special to the Tribune

Aquatic invasive weeds choke large sections of the Tahoe Keys. The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association plans to launch a more holistic plan to remove or reduce the volume, pending final approval by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and public input.

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association will host an expert panel and public workshop on Aug. 11 on their plan to fight aquatic invasive weeds. The workshop will be the best opportunity for interested community members to learn more about the problem and proposed solution.

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association has developed an integrated weed management plan to address the growing weed problem in the Tahoe Keys and its potential impacts in Lake Tahoe. An independent expert panel has been asked to review the plan and will host a discussion and question and answer session from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 11 at the South Tahoe Public Utility District headquarters at 1275 Meadow Crest Drive.

"We are excited to present our plan to our property owners and to the public," said John Larson, president of the property owners association. "It's important we get the weeds under control, not just for us, but for Lake Tahoe as a whole."

The experts include Pat Akers, California Department of Food and Agriculture; Joe DiTomaso, University of California Davis; Dr. Kurt Getsinger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Dr. Sudeep Chandra, University of Nevada Reno and Joel Trumbo, California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The lagoons of the Tahoe Keys, built more than 50 years ago, include 172 acres of waterways. Aquatic invasive species; including Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed, along with a nuisance plant called coontail; have thrived in the Keys' protected waterways since Eurasian watermilfoil became established in the 1980s.

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association has been using four harvesters – boats that cut down the weeds – costing about $400,000 a year. Despite these efforts the weeds continue to grow in volume.

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The plan takes a comprehensive,approach to the growing weeds problem, integrating the best science and proven techniques from elsewhere in Lake Tahoe and in the country. Those techniques include improved harvesting by boat, bottom barrier mats to block new growth, scuba diver weed removal, fragment collection to prevent spread, better landscaping and stormwater management to reduce nutrients and pollutants in the water, better boat maintenance and practices to reduce weed transport and selective, targeted use of herbicides.

The plan will need to be approved by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to move forward – following environmental and public review – potentially starting in 2017. Some aspects of the plan could be implemented as early as 2016.

The public is invited to attend, learn about the plan and have questions answered. Find out more at http://www.keysweedsmanagement.org.

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