August 16, 2014
Filed Under Lake Tahoe Eco-Tips
Fourteen League to Save Lake Tahoe volunteers removed an infestation of invasive Eurasian watermilfoil from the Upper Truckee River near the Tahoe Keys Marina on August 5. About 100 gallons of the plant were hauled out from a 1,000-foot stretch of the river. The infestation was the first to be identified and removed by trained Eyes on the Lake volunteers. It was also the first confirmed new infestation discovered at Lake Tahoe in several years. A follow-up volunteer effort will take place later this month to ensure the infestation is completely gone.
Invasive species are one of the top threats to Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem, costing resource agencies millions of dollars to prevent and control each year, and will be one of the themes discussed at this year’s Lake Tahoe Summit hosted by Senator Dianne Feinstein at the Valhalla Estate on August 19.
Eyes on the Lake is a two-year-old program that trains everyday community members to identify and report new infestations of aquatic invasive plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed at Lake Tahoe.
“This infestation was discovered when it was still small and could be removed in a few hours by about a dozen volunteers, saving resource agencies money that should go to treating larger infestations and funding prevention programs like boat inspections,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s deputy director. “We hope it will demonstrate to other communities how volunteer monitoring programs can be a part of the solution and play an important role in tackling invasive species.”
The program trains recreationists to keep an eye out for the plants while they play in Lake Tahoe, whether they are swimming, diving or boating. “Protect while you play” is the program’s theme.
The earlier new infestations are found, the easier it is to remove them before they can get established and spread throughout the lake.
“A lot of people don’t know how they can help Keep Tahoe Blue, especially if they don’t live here,” Patterson said. “This is the perfect program for the weekend warrior, first-time visitor or longtime local because you can participate while you are out enjoying the lake and choose your commitment level. Even if someone just completes one survey it is important information that helps to protect the lake.”More information on Eyes on the Lake can be found at keeptahoeblue.org/our-work/eyes/.