Tahoe Roadside Boat Inspection Stations Open for Season

Roadside stations for inspections and decontaminations of motorized boats and watercraft are officially opening for the 2017 boating season. Locations, hours of operation and opening dates are as follows:

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., 7 days a week

  • Meyers: at the junction of US 50 and Highway 89
  • Spooner Summit: at the junction of US 50 and Highway 28 in Nevada
  • Alpine Meadows: Highway 89, off Alpine Meadows Road north of Tahoe City
  • Truckee-Tahoe: Highway 267, off Truckee Airport Road (opened May 17th)

“Entering our 10th season with no new invasions, boat inspections are clearly doing what they are intended to do, protect Lake Tahoe.”  , said Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s aquatic resources program manager.  “The Tahoe RCD boat inspectors have allowed us to be ready for any invaders that try to come our way.”

All motorized watercraft require inspection for aquatic invasive species (AIS) prior to launching into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lake. Invasive species, such as quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and hydrilla, are known to multiply quickly and colonize underwater surfaces, including docks and piers, water supply and filtration systems, buoys, moored boats, and even the beautiful rocky shoreline.  They destroy fish habitat, ruin boat engines, and can negatively impact water quality and the local economy, recreation, and ecosystem.  Boats and other watercraft are the largest transporters of AIS, and the inspection program is critical to preventing their spread into Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies.  Knowingly transporting AIS into Lake Tahoe is against the law, and violators may be subject to monetary penalties.

In 2016, Tahoe RCD inspectors inspected over 8,000 vessels and decontaminated approximately half of them. Throughout the season inspectors found 39 vessels containing foreign species such as mussels, snails and plant material.  “Boaters are encouraged to Clean, Drain, and Dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations in order to save time and money,” according to Nicole Cartwright, AIS Program Coordinator for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, “make sure to drain all water, even water from your garden hose used to flush. Taking these three simple steps will get you on the water faster.”

Annual watercraft inspection fees remain unchanged from last year. The “Tahoe In & Out” inspection ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The “Tahoe Only” inspection sticker is $30. An additional fee of $35 is charged for any boat requiring decontamination and an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags.

Invasive species are highly advantageous and can be transported by non-motorized water recreation equipment as well. The Tahoe Keeper program was created to inform the paddling community about the importance of inspecting equipment, including: kayaks, paddleboards, fishing equipment, inflatable water toys and life jackets. Visit tahoekeepers.org for more information.

Stay tuned for our upcoming North Shore and South Shore Aquatic Invasive Species Trivia Nights. Test your knowledge about AIS and boat inspections, interact with local agencies for a free drink ticket, and win prizes! Information on trivia night details, the inspection program, and AIS can be found by visiting TahoeBoatInspections.com or calling (888) 824-6267.

Positions Available – Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspectors

Now Accepting Applications for Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program. Season begins April 24, 2017. Positions open until filled. Part-time and Full-time seasonal positions available. Full job descriptions for:

  • Watercraft Inspectors:  Multiple North Shore positions available. Shifts are 10 hour days, 8am-6pm. Salary starts at $14/hour. Four locations:  Alpine Meadows and Truckee.
  • Public Information Specialist: One position available. Shifts are 8 hour days, 8am-4pm. Saturday/Sunday required.
  • Service Technician: One position available. Shifts are 8 hours a day, 8am-4pm. Saturday/Sunday required.

Please send resume and three references to ckilian@tahoercd.org

 

Tahoe Boat Inspections Move to Launch Ramps for Fall and Winter

Starting in October boat inspections will move to select launch ramps and winter hours will begin.  Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) inspectors will be stationed at Cave Rock and Lake Forest boat launches from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather and construction permitting. All boats without an intact Tahoe inspection seal are required to get an inspection during daylight hours. Decontaminations are available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest throughout October as long as weather permits. Decontamination fees will apply for watercraft that are not clean, drained and dry. “Clean, Drain and Dry” watercraft that have been in a known infested waterbody will also require a precautionary decontamination at no cost. Boats with intact inspection seals are permitted to launch at all open launch facilities; however, inspections are only available at Cave Rock and Lake Forest.  Boaters are encouraged to confirm hours and inspection locations online at TahoeBoatInspections.com or by calling the toll-free hotline at 888-824-6267.

“It is more efficient to move inspections back to the boat ramps with the decrease in boater traffic during the slower fall and winter months,” said Dennis Zabaglo, aquatic resources program manager at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, “but we will continue operations at roadside inspection locations for the 2017 summer boating season.  We appreciate the continued cooperation from Tahoe boaters in helping to protect our amazing recreational resources from the threat of aquatic invasive species and supporting our nationally recognized prevention program.”

According to monitoring and scientific reports, Lake Tahoe remains free of new invasive species introductions, which are major threats to the overall health of Lake Tahoe and surrounding waterbodies. During the 2016 boating season, Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors performed more than 7,500 inspections.  In total, more than 15,000 vessels launched at Lake Tahoe, including both newly inspected vessels and those with intact Tahoe-issued inspection seals.

As watercraft continue to arrive from high-risk waters, the importance of Lake Tahoe’s Watercraft Inspection Program remains critical. In fact, in 2016, 35 of the inspected watercraft were harboring aquatic invasive plants, mussels or snails. With our efficient roadside inspection stations, Tahoe RCD decontaminated approximately 3,500 watercraft with hot water, preventing invasive species from entering Tahoe’s waters.

“We would like to thank the thousands of boaters who arrived at our Watercraft Inspection Stations with their watercraft clean, drained and dry,” said Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program manager for Tahoe RCD. “These boaters were able to get on the water faster and avoided paying the additional fees.”

Tahoe RCD continues to support aquatic invasive species prevention efforts in the Truckee region. Tahoe RCD partnered with the Town of Truckee to provide watercraft inspections and decontaminations for Donner Lake at our Truckee-Tahoe watercraft inspection station.  Please join the Town of Truckee at 6pm Wednesday September 28th at Town Hall in the Council Chambers for their second public workshop about the future of Donner Lake’s prevention program. Tahoe RCD watercraft inspectors also educated over 3,000 boaters and paddlers about preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species at Prosser and Boca Reservoirs in Nevada County and Stampede Reservoir in Sierra County.

Prevention efforts for over 12,000 paddlers in the Region occurred at beach kiosks, boat ramps and park entrances. Watercrafts were assessed for their risk of transporting aquatic invasive species from previously visited waterbodies. Paddlers were also educated about self-inspecting and decontaminating canoes, kayaks and paddleboards and encouraged to become a Tahoe Keeper (TahoeKeepers.org).

New Weapons Available to Fight Against Invasive Species

Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV— Smartphones became Lake Tahoe’s first line of defense against the introduction of new aquatic invasive species this summer. As part of recently launched partnerships with agencies around the West, the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program receives real-time updates from other land managers about vessels traveling to Lake Tahoe from waters with a high risk of containing invasive species. The data-sharing app used by partner agencies acts as an early warning system for Tahoe’s watercraft inspectors.

Since 2009, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) has enforced mandatory watercraft inspections at Lake Tahoe, which has prevented the introduction of new aquatic invasive species. Aquatic invasive species can damage Tahoe’s ecosystem and degrade recreational experiences for residents and visitors.

“We continue to find several boats each year with various aquatic invasive species, and the watercraft inspection program is poised to discover what the next threat could be,” said Dennis Zabaglo, aquatic resources program manager at TRPA. “We’re using every weapon at our disposal, and these regional partnerships are a critical link to conserving the health of Lake Tahoe.”

So far this year, inspectors in the Lake Tahoe Region have conducted more than 7,300 inspections and decontaminated more than 3,500 vessels. Complete numbers are expected to be released as the 2016 boating season winds down.

In 2016 thus far, Lake Tahoe watercraft inspectors have prevented four boats containing quagga mussels from launching on the lake. The most recent discovery took place this month at the boat inspection station in Meyers. Quagga mussels have caused significant environmental damage in U.S. waterways, including the Great Lakes and Lake Mead. In addition, 20 boats have been found with other invasive species, including New Zealand mudsnails, during the inspection process at Lake Tahoe.

“Our inspection staff work hard to prevent new introductions of aquatic invasive species into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, Echo Lake, and now Donner Lake,” said Nicole Cartwright, AIS program coordinator with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD), “with over 20 vessels found harvesting invasive species, this validates their efforts and the importance of our program.”

Tahoe inspectors ask boaters to Clean, Drain and Dry their vessels prior to arriving at an inspection station.

Spooner Closure July 16 & 17

The Spooner Inspection Station will be closed Saturday and Sunday July 16 & 17 due to a special event. All boats needing an inspection will need to go to Meyers, Truckee or Alpine Inspection Stations. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

U.S. 50 Road Improvements Near Cave Rock Boat Ramp

Cave Rock State Park boaters and visitors should be aware of roadway improvements that the Nevada Department of Transportation will be making on U.S. 50 near Cave Rock.

NDOT will be extending the westbound, lakeside Cave Rock tunnel entrance.  The new approximately 60-foot long and 27-foot tall structure will extend the existing tunnel to enhance safety by catching rock fall before it reaches the roadway. Westbound and Eastbound U.S. 50 lanes and the roadway median between Cave Rock and the Cave Rock State Park boat launch entrance will also be paved, and other improvements made.

During construction, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction through the eastbound Cave Rock tunnel, with reduced speed limits and some limited travel delays to be expected.  Left turns into and out of Cave Rock State Park may at times be limited due to construction.

Project construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2016 and continue through fall of 2016.

2016 Stickers Now Available

2016 Tahoe Only and Tahoe In-out inspection stickers are now available. There are inspectors ready to serve you at either Cave Rock or Lake Forest boat ramp, 7 days a week, weather permitting.

Inspection fees will remain at the 2015 prices. We do not anticipate any changes to the fee structure, but 2016’s fees will not be finalized until the February or March TRPA board meeting.

Helping shape boating industry

Lake Tahoe’s Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program is working with the boating industry to create new products that stop the spread of AIS in ballast tanks. Check out the results of testing the efficacy of a filtration device to minimize the introduction of veligers or zooplankton into ballast water systems to minimize the potential spread of invasive species into uninvaded lakes via boat ballast.    Full report: click here

 

 

2015 Public Forum: Aquatic Invasive Species

Forum_Flyer_5-21-15_2

2015 Stickers now available!

2015 Tahoe Only and Tahoe In and Out stickers are now available. Stop by Cave Rock for an inspection or to upgrade your stickers. Make sure you are Clean, Drain and Dry. Visa and Mastercard only (no cash or check). Prices are available on our 2015 fee chart.

(Lake Forest is closed, due to a rehabilitation project)