Invasive species, shorezone on TRPA’s agenda for today |

Invasive species, shorezone on TRPA’s agenda for today

Annie Flanzraich / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board’s agenda for today’s meeting includes discussions about shorezone ordinances and transportation around the lake. The board also will decide whether or not to make penalties for bringing invasive species into the lake more severe.

The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. at The Chateau in Incline Village at 955 Fairway Blvd.

The board will hold a public hearing and consider amending a chapter of the TRPA’s code to prohibit the introduction of aquatic invasive species into Lake Tahoe’s water and to make all watercraft launching into the lake subject to inspection.

This code change is part of an effort to keep Lake Tahoe clear of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels. If introduced into an environment, the mussels can destroy ecosystems and economies, said Dennis Zabaglo, a TRPA senior environmental specialist and watercraft program manager.

Zebra mussels have been found as close as 250 miles from Lake Tahoe – in San Justo Reservoir in California – and quagga mussels have infected Lake Mead.

Currently, TRPA does not address aquatic invasive species in its code. However, the states of California and Nevada have laws prohibiting the transport and introduction of such species. Federal law prohibits their transport.

In the staff report, TRPA says the only concern identified is how this measure will affect recreation because of possible delays due to inspections. However, they say this inconvenience “pales in comparison” with the effects of an species invasion.

“Prevention and detection is key,” Zabaglo said. “If they get here, (there is) nothing that can be done.”

TRPA staff also will update the board on proposed changes to the shorezone ordinances and seek direction.

“We’re giving them an update on what we have done so far and getting some feedback as to how to proceed,” said TRPA spokesman Dennis Oliver. “There is also an opportunity for public comment.”

There is no formal action requested. Staff only is asking for comments on the policy direction proposed in the regional plan update.

The TRPA staff also is proposing a a schedule for the board to adopt for processing shorezone permit applications if an amendment of ordinances is approved this summer.

After handling a few administrative items, the board will adjourn as the TRPA and reconvene as the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization to handle some business.

“There are things we have to do to make federal deadlines and findings we have to make to qualify for different types of funding,” Oliver said.

Items on the TRPA’s agenda as the TMPO include approval of the TMPO Public Participation Plan, approval of the fiscal year 2009 Tahoe Basin Transportation Overall Work Program and adoption of Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan. Officials from the Nevada Department of Transportation also will give a presentation and solicit comments for NDOT system projects for the next 10 years.

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