Tahoe Keepers launches voluntary kayak inspections | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Keepers launches voluntary kayak inspections

Staff reports

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A new stewardship program called Tahoe Keepers has launched a website to help kayakers and other non-motorized watercraft users inspect their boats and prevent invasive species from entering Lake Tahoe.

TahoeKeepers.org provides video training on how to properly clean, drain and dry watercraft and gear after each use, and dispose of any plants or debris away from lakes and streams.

“Tahoe Keepers is an exciting new program that helps paddlers and non-motorized boaters help to protect our treasured resources and recreational privileges by preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species at Lake Tahoe,” said Pete Brumis, spokesman for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

The program is free and voluntary in 2011.

Preventing invasive species is an important part of protecting Lake Tahoe’s shoreline beauty. Invasive species like Asian clams and watermilfoil are already changing Tahoe’s shoreline ecosystem, but these invaders are not yet established in Fallen Leaf Lake, Echo Lake and Spooner Lake. Thorough boat inspections will help prevent spreading invasive species to Tahoe’s smaller lakes.

In addition, the destructive quagga mussel is not established in Tahoe, but it is now on the lake’s doorstep, having been discovered in reservoirs in Northern Nevada.

“Preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species is a top priority among all agencies and stakeholders at Tahoe,” said Rochelle Nason, executive director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “Tahoe Keepers engages the non-motorized community in the important boat inspection programs underway at Tahoe. It’s now more critical than ever for boaters to be vigilant.”

Tahoe Keepers is a collaborative project of many organizations, led by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, and U.S. Forest Service. The California Tahoe Conservancy, California State Parks, Nevada Department of Wildlife and California Department of Fish & Game have also been integral agencies.

The League helped to plan and implement the outreach and education portions of the program. Funds came from the Lake Tahoe Quagga Mussel Prevention Fund, which the League formed in conjunction with the Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association.

Find Tahoe Keepers on Facebook.

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