Lake Tahoe boat inspection stations open May 1; invasive species prevention a success |

Lake Tahoe boat inspection stations open May 1; invasive species prevention a success

Sebastian Foltz
Roadside boat inspections will resume at select locations starting Sunday, May 1. The program has successfully kept new invasive species from entering Lake Tahoe since it began in 2007.
Courtesy / Tahoe RCD |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Tahoe Resource Conservation District announced this week that summer roadside boat inspection operations will resume Sunday, May 1 with additional facilities opening Thursday, May 19. The Meyers, Spooner Summit and Alpine Meadows roadside sites will each open May 1 followed by the Truckee inspections station near the Truckee-Tahoe Airport and the Highway 267 exit of Interstate 80.

All motorized watercraft are required to pass inspection before accessing Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lake.

“Boat inspections are critical to maintaining the health of Lake Tahoe and our local recreation-based economy,” said Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s aquatic resources program manager.

Inspection seals run between $30 and $121 depending on size, with seven-day and seasonal pass options. Any boat that fails inspection and is subject to decontamination will incur an additional $35 charge. Non-motorized watercraft can be screened free of charge at any staffed boat ramp.

“Boaters are encouraged to clean, drain and dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations in order to save time and money,” said Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program coordinator for Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Since the program began in 2007, no new invasive species have entered Lake Tahoe.

“We’re primed to find whatever the next invader is,” Zabaglo said of the program. Describing the need to continue addressing invasive species, he added, “They wreak havoc on ecosystems should they become established.”

TRPA and other state, federal and private agencies continue to manage existing non-native species, including the Eurasian milfoil plant, curlyleaf pondweed and Asian clam through a variety of programs. Channels in the Tahoe Keys also harbor a number of warm-water fish species.

“[Invasive species] are a very big threat,” Cartwright added, describing the need for ongoing programs. “We see thousands of boaters a year from all over the country.”

In 2016 the agency conducted 6,800 inspections. Of those, 2,300 required decontaminations and 40 carried some form of invasive species including one boat with a fast-spreading non-native mussel species.

“Boaters are compliant,” Zabaglo said, describing participation. “They understand the importance of the program.”


For more information on aquatic invasive species prevention, control and early detection, Tahoe Resource Conservation District will host its annual Spring Public Forum. The event will take place at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village on Tuesday, June 14, from 5-7:30 p.m. Event details and information on the inspection program and invasive species is also available at or by calling 888-824-6267.

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