AIS Control at Lake Tahoe
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Lake Tahoe threaten water quality, recreation, and aquatic ecosystems. Over the past decade, Tahoe RCD and partners have worked together to prevent, control, and monitor aquatic invasive species at Lake Tahoe. The Lake Tahoe Region Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (2014) and Implementation Plan for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species within Lake Tahoe (Wittman and Chandra 2015) provide the framework for plant control including program goals, and priority species and locations for AIS management. The AIS Action Agenda (2019) re-prioritized treatment sites based on new information and experience gained from implementing AIS control work, establishing new performance metrics to assess success, and identifying the resources needed to carry out a comprehensive, all-taxa approach to addressing AIS in the region.
The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinating Committee (AISCC), co-chaired by TRPA and Tahoe RCD, is a bi-state cooperative that provides direction for addressing AIS issues in the Region, and is comprised of 40 public and private entities and additional stakeholders. Guided by the AIS Action Agenda and the results of the 2018 Lake-wide Aquatic Plant Survey, the AISCC has identified and worked together to fund priority control projects. To date, there are 33 known infestation sites in the Lake Tahoe Region. Half of the infestation sites have been successfully treated and require only annual surveillance visits. Nearly all of the remaining sites are either being actively treated or are being actively planned for future treatment.
Status of known AIS infestations in Lake Tahoe Region
Status of Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Sites, October 2020.
The success of the AIS Control Program relies on treating the Region as a cohesive unit and limiting the spread of AIS populations throughout the lake. This strategy requires a multitude of funding sources. Funding partners have included California Tahoe Conservancy, Elk Point Country Club Homeowners’ Association, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Nevada Division of State Lands, Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Truckee River Fund, and more. The contributions of all of these partners ensure that resources are available to address these infestations.
Tahoe RCD – working with a variety of stakeholders
Tahoe RCD is uniquely positioned to implement projects with a variety of partners on the ground – both public and private, to help them meet their conservation goals. Because invasive weeds spread easily through floating fragments, an infestation anywhere can become a threat everywhere. Therefore, cooperation among all stakeholders is needed to successfully tackle this lake-wide problem. Tahoe RCD has successfully used SB-630 funds to facilitate and implement projects around the lake with partners from local municipalities and fulfil the goals of the AIS Action Agenda. From 2016 to 2020, SB-630 funds have funded (partially or fully) ten AIS control projects on the California side of Lake Tahoe. Tahoe RCD has demonstrated success at controlling these satellite populations using a combination of bottom barriers, diver-assisted suction removal, and hand-removal.
Stakeholder designation of SB-630 funded AIS Control Projects
Stakeholder designation of AIS Control Sites funded in part by SB-630 funds
Cooperation from stakeholders around the lake has yielded successful results. The sites discussed below provide an example of some of these partnerships.
Tahoe Vista Boat Launch – Local municipality, North Tahoe Public Utility District