Agencies team to begin largest invasive plant removal project at Lake Tahoe

Staff Report
Installation of bottom barriers is underway at Taylor and Tallac marshes as part of the largest aquatic invasive plant removal project at Lake Tahoe.
Provided/Tahoe Fund.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A pair of agencies are teaming up to begin the largest invasive plant removal project at Lake Tahoe, officials announced Wednesday.

The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in partnership with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, are planning to remove 17 acres of invasive plants in the Taylor and Tallac creeks and marshes as part of a comprehensive restoration of one of the last natural wetlands in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Left unchecked, aquatic invasive plants can have devastating effects on Tahoe’s ecosystem and recreational resources.

“Invasive plant eradication projects have typically been measured in single acres,” said Sarah Muskopf, aquatic biologist with the Forest Service in a press release. “Using new technologies, including larger mats, reduces the cost of implementation and allows us to meet restoration objectives more efficiently.”

Crews are staking large tarps known as bottom barriers to the bottom of the Tallac Marsh and hope to have all the tarps in place by early 2022. Bottom barriers starve invasive weeds such as Eurasian watermilfoil of sunlight and are commonly used in the Tahoe Basin to control infestations.

“Wetlands improve our region’s natural resiliency in the face of climate change by filtering runoff and other pollutants,” said Kat McIntyre, forest health program manager with TRPA. “The restoration of these marshes pays dividends in keeping the lake clear and improving wildlife habitat

This project falls under the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program), an unparalleled collaboration working to achieve the environmental goals of the region. Funding is provided by federal Lake Tahoe Restoration Act allocations as well as $100,000 in private contributions from the Tahoe Fund.

“We are thrilled to be able to support this absolutely critical invasive plant removal project thanks to the support of the Merrill Family Foundation,” said Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund. “It is inspiring to see our public agency partners take on a project of this size as they continue to tackle this ongoing threat to Tahoe’s water quality.”

The Forest Service asks recreationists to use caution when walking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing in these areas as the mats are very slippery when wet or covered with snow. They also ask to respect the fencing around the project for public safety and to help ensure the project is successful.

The project will not impede access to Kiva and Baldwin beaches and is anticipated to last through 2024.

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