Test sites to be closed in Tahoe Keys during invasive weed fight

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Scientists will gather new data points and information this spring and summer in the long-waged battle against aquatic invasive weeds in Lake Tahoe when the controlled methods test begins in the Tahoe Keys lagoons.

The results will help determine long term solutions for the lagoons and Lake Tahoe.

The Control Methods Test, which was unanimously passed by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board, will use stand-alone and combined use of various approaches including targeted herbicides and UV-C light to reduce and control the abundant growth of invasive and nuisance aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys west lagoon and Lake Tallac areas.

Late spring is the best time to conduct these tests because it’s when weeds are smaller and they release less nutrients into the water as they decompose after being treated. Waiting until plants are larger and their biomass is greater would release more nutrients, which could cause algal blooms.

To preserve the integrity of the tests and results, the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Board of Directors adopted an emergency rule restricting boat and water activities in the treatment areas from April 18 to as late as mid-July 2022.

The homeowners of the Keys have already made a significant financial investment in the battle to keep the lagoons clear of weeds and the CMT will cost the TKPOA up to $3 million. The start of the tests is slated for April, but that will depend on water levels and other natural factors.

“The CMT will help determine the most effective, integrated management methods that will greatly reduce the impacts and threats of invasive aquatic plants on Lake Tahoe as well as improve management in the Tahoe Keys lagoons,” said Dr. Lars Anderson, an aquatic ecology/invasive species specialist and former affiliate of the University of California, Davis Weed Science Group. “It’s been a long road to get to this point, and time is of the essence. We need this data to combat this problem and while the herbicide concentrations to treat the weeds will be at levels safe to humans, pets and fish and wildlife, stopping water activities inside the treatment areas is necessary to protect the validity of the CMT.”

Three areas within the Tahoe Keys will be restricted during the testing period:

Treatment Area A Barrier Placement will impact all homeowners on the following streets:

All streets off of Emerald Drive (Garmish Court, Marconi Way, Lido Way, Kokanee Drive)

Southern side of Aloha Drive (Aloha Drive, Daggett Court, Carson Court)

All streets off of Alpine Drive (Alpine Drive, Cascade Court, Cathedral Court, Genevieve Court)

Waterway side of Venice Drive from Lighthouse Shores to Christie Drive

West Side of Christie Drive and Wedeln Court

Treatment Area B Barrier Placement will impact all homeowners on the following streets:

Eastern side of Lucerne Way

Northern side of Venice Drive from the Corner of Lucerne Way and Ala Wai Blvd

All of Morro Drive

Southern side of Monterey Drive

Western side of Danube Drive from the corner of Venice to Monterey Drive

Treatment Area C Barrier Placement will impact all homeowners on the following streets:

Tahoe Keys Blvd from the corner of Venice Drive to Texas Avenue

West side of Dover Drive

Venice Drive from corner of Tahoe Keys Blvd to approximately 2176 Venice Drive

Texas Avenue from Tahoe Keys Blvd to the Lake Tallac Canal

Area A will impact 443 single family homes and 33 condos, Area B will impact 93 houses and Area C will impact 39 houses.

To help with the inconvenience the test period will bring for the homeowners in the treatment areas the TKPOA board is making accommodations. Boats and other watercraft that are already docked in the treatment areas prior to April 18, 2022, may remain moored but can’t be operated during the test period.

There will also be no swimming, pets, sailboats, personal watercrafts, kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddleboards allowed in the test areas as they could compromise the results of the entire test. Water access for homeowner kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and similar items will be allowed at the TKPOA ramps in non-restricted areas on Christie Drive, Wedeln Court, Traverse Court and Slalom Court. The TKPOA is also waiving regulations against street and driveway parking for boat and trailer storage during the test period.

Homeowners will have 10 days from the end of the test to relocate any boats and trailers from the streets. The TKPOA is also gathering a list of homeowners with docks outside the test areas who are willing to offer dock or mooring space to affected homeowners’ boats.

Violation of this rule by a TKPOA property owner, their guests or slip renters can result in a loss of membership privileges, and fines as high as $10,000.

The test areas will be clearly defined in the waterways with prominent signage and turbidity curtains. At a recent open house on the parameters of the test, many TKPOA members acknowledged the need to work together as a community to ensure the CMT is successful and move toward a comprehensive solution to invasive weeds and overall water quality.

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