Evasive boater fined $5,000
STATELINE, Nev. – Los Angeles resident Mark Kanev, 29, will be fined $5,000 for evading Lake Tahoe boat inspectors in late June, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency legal committee unanimously decided Wednesday.
The legal committee also directed TRPA legal and communications staff to work with Kanev to craft a public apology acknowledging the gravity of the infraction, at the request of board member Shelley Aldean.
The TRPA believes that Kanev purposefully evaded Lake Tahoe boat inspectors this summer after they recommended his vessel for decontamination.
According to the TRPA, Kanev tried to launch his boat June 28 at Cave Rock when he told inspectors that the boat was last in Sand Hollow Reservoir in Utah, a mussel-infested body of water, according to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.
Inspectors found water in the boat and ordered a full decontamination, which was scheduled for July 1. When Kanev did not arrive for his scheduled decontamination, TRCD inspectors attempted to contact him, unsuccessfully, according to the TRPA.
After contacting various inspection sites, TRCD staff learned Kanev’s boat had been inspected at the Meyers Boat Inspection Station later on June 28. There, Kanev told inspectors his boat had been in Lake Powell (located on the Utah/Arizona border), which is not mussel-infested, and omitted any reference to Sand Hollow Reservoir. TRPA watercraft patrol located the vessel moored in Rubicon Bay on July 1.
TRPA staff has conducted DNA tests on the boat and the waters where the boat was located for quagga mussels and no traces were found, said Julie Regan, TRPA communications and legislative affairs chief.
Mara Bresnick, a member of the legal committee board, said the fine was too low.
“This is a tremendously egregious violation given the potential damage aquatic invasive species could wreak on the waters of Lake Tahoe,” she said.
However, Scott Lichtig, TRPA assistant attorney, said Kanev’s current financial status was taken into consideration by TRPA legal staff, who felt that the fine was “a significant deterrent.”
“I am fully confident that the financial penalty is appropriate,” Lichtig said. “Mr. Kanev is a young gentleman in his 20s and this fine represents a financial hardship.”
The fine also represents a considerable deterrent for the average boater, said Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager Ted Thayer.
Kanev will pay the fine in $500 increments.
Lichtig, who interviewed Kanev on July 2, the day after his boat was seized and removed from Lake Tahoe, described Kanev as contrite and generally cooperative at the time.
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