Funding for boat inspections approved |

Funding for boat inspections approved

Tribune staff report

The boat inspection program at Lake Tahoe has received another $750,000 boost in federal funding, which is enough to keep the program afloat for at least one more year, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

It wasn’t expected that funds would be available for the boat inspection program next year, but it turns out they will be at least one more time, according to federal officials.

The Bureau of Land Management provided the money through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. It has provided about half the funding through the management act in the past. The other half comes from inspection fees paid by boaters.

“It’s gap funding while we work on securing a new sustainable source of funding for the long-term operation of this boat inspection program, which is the cornerstone of what we do to protect Lake Tahoe from new invaders,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta said in a statement.

In the past five years, more than 37,000 watercraft inspections and more than 18,000 decontaminations have been completed under Lake Tahoe’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

Additionally, a federal task force has recently approved a five-year revision to a management plan that aims to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in the lake. Boat inspections, which were facing a major funding shortfall, are a main component of those efforts.

The first Lake Tahoe Region Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan was created in 2009 and signed by California and Nevada governors. The framework to the latest remains largely unchanged after the revision, according to TRPA.

“Lake Tahoe has one of the best aquatic invasive species plans in the United States,” said Donald Maclean, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Tahoe’s plan will serve as a model nationwide moving forward.”

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