Letter: Asian clams a danger to Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: Asian clams a danger to Lake Tahoe

Imagine walking into your house to find an infestation of termites. Not only are the termites annoying, but they’re hard to get rid of and are slowly but surely destroying your home. Similarly, Asian clams and their expanding population are ruining a place that is home to many. Asian clams were not reacted to fast enough, resulting in some serious issues for Lake Tahoe, and old plans to eradicate them have not proven fully effective, so, new plans must be thought of and considered seriously to save the clarity of the lake and the economy of Tahoe.

Because the clams started small, a reaction was delayed by the idea that they couldn’t or wouldn’t multiply, allowing the clams to have a nice chunk of time to expand in numbers. California-Nevada border area beaches in South Lake Tahoe now carry an average of 6,000 Asian clams per square meter. Emerald Bay carries between 40 and 200 per square meter. The tiny clams ironically cause some large problems. According to Brant Allen, a researcher for the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, a large concern that comes along with the clams is that they will “edge out native animals in the competition for food” (SFgate.com). On top of this, the clams excrete nutrients that promote the growth of algae. In short, the clams risk killing native species and turning the lake green rather than blue.

Hiring a team of environmentalists, biologists, and engineers and funding their trials would be an investment that has the potential to save Lake Tahoe’s economy once and for all. A one-time expenditure would be worth the gain of tourism in the long run. Action must be taken and supported in order for the lake to retain its beauty.

Louisa Stelzriede

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South Lake Tahoe, Calif.


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