Asian clam control implemented at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor |

Asian clam control implemented at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor

This map depicts the project area.
Courtesy Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program |

An Asian clam control project is expected to continue at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Sand Harbor from mid-June through November, according to the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

The goal of the clam control project, a collaboration between the Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada State Parks and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is to treat a small, isolated population of Asian clams at Sand Harbor before they spread to an unmanageable level, according to a press release.

Treatment will be accomplished by covering approximately 4 acres of the lake bottom near the boat ramp with thin rubber barriers. The barriers measure 10 feet by 100 feet and are placed by SCUBA divers over known populations of Asian clams on the bottom of the lake. Steel rebar on top of the barriers keeps them in place and deprives the covered clam population of oxygen.

The tactic has been used elsewhere in Lake Tahoe where Asian clams persist, including Emerald Bay. Researchers first experimented with the tarp tactic in Zephyr Cove in 2010.

Tears or other damage to the mats will reduce their effectiveness and may result in the need for prolonged treatment. Officials are asking the public not to anchor on top of mats or disturb the mats, sand bags and/or rebar.

Asian clams have a variety of negative impacts, including stimulating algae growth, which reduces the quality and clarity of Tahoe’s waters. They also can create more suitable habitat for quagga mussels, which can clog boat intakes, and they compete with native species for habitat and food, which causes a disruption in the food web, according to the press release. Once dead, Asian clam shells wash ashore, creating hazardous conditions for boaters and the recreating public.

The treatment, which is expected to run into November, will help prevent the spread of these invasive clams to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

Funding for this project is coming from the NV Lake Tahoe License Plate Program and Tahoe Bonds from the state of Nevada.

For more information, please visit

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