Tahoe watercraft inspection program open for summer
STATELINE, Nev. — As Lake Tahoe’s water level nears its maximum height from a record snowpack, agencies helping protect the region from aquatic invasive species are preparing watercraft inspection stations and new equipment for paddlers for the season ahead.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Resource Conservation District manage the nationally recognized boat inspection program to prevent the spread of AIS by ensuring all watercraft are Clean, Drained, and Dry before entering the waters of the Lake Tahoe Region.
Program managers are providing important updates for boaters:
- As of Saturday, May 27, all three regional inspection stations will be open. It will be at the first day for the station at Alpine Meadows ski resort near Tahoe City.
- The station at Spooner Summit in Nevada will only be open Thursdays through Sundays due to staffing shortages.
- The Spooner Summit station will be open Monday, May 29, for the Memorial Day Holiday, and will be closed Sunday, June 4, during America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.
- All motorized watercraft must be inspected and/or decontaminated, however boats that have an intact inspection seal from the last time they left Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, or Echo Lakes can go directly to their launch ramp or marina for certification.
Non-motorized paddlers have an important role in protecting Lake Tahoe from AIS introductions.
- Paddlers can self-inspect their equipment before entering the waters of the region. Rangers at many of Lake Tahoe’s public recreation areas help paddlers check that their equipment is Clean, Drained, and Dry.
- This summer, two new solar-powered cleaning machines are being deployed that allow paddlers to clean their gear on the spot before getting on the water. One machine will be kept at Meeks Bay, owned and operated by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. The second will rove between popular sites around the Tahoe Region and be periodically staffed.
- Paddlers are encouraged to become a certified Tahoe Keeper by following three simple steps every time they enter or leave a water body: Clean, Drain, and Dry. Anyone can become a Tahoe Keeper for free by going to tahoekeepers.org.
Tahoe RCD is actively recruiting and training new inspectors to help run this important program. Introduction of AIS, such as the harmful quagga or zebra mussel, can wreck native ecosystems, ruin Lake Tahoe’s recreational resources, and cost the region more than $20 million a year.
Thanks to the work of inspectors and boat ramp and marina operators, more than 107,000 vessels have been inspected at Lake Tahoe since 2008. In that time there have been no new detections of AIS in the region.
Find out more about becoming an inspector at tahoercd.org/about-us/job-opportunities-2/aquatic-invasive-species-program-jobs/
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