New region-wide protocols in place to prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails


Contact: Jeff Cowen, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Public Information Officer

Lake Tahoe, Nev./Calif. — Lake Tahoe watercraft inspection stations are open for the season to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and boaters can now book an appointment for this summer online, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) announced today. With the discovery last year of invasive New Zealand mudsnails in Lake Tahoe, the agencies are urging boaters, paddlers, beachgoers, and anglers to learn how to prevent the spread of this new threat to the waters of the Lake Tahoe Region.

Inspections are available without an appointment any time of the year, according to TRPA and Tahoe RCD who have managed the inspection program since its launch in 2008. During the peak season, an optional appointment can be scheduled online for a $15 convenience fee any day between May 15 and September 30, depending on availability. Book online here.

As of May 1, the Meyers, Calif. and Spooner Summit, Nev. regional watercraft inspection stations will be open from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. The Alpine Meadows, Calif. inspection station opens May 15 with the same operating hours.

“Boaters can help keep the waters of the Tahoe Region safe from aquatic invasive species by arriving Clean, Drained, and Dry,” said Tom Boos, Senior Environmental Specialist at TRPA. “This is the number one way to reduce the risk of invasive species and it helps boaters get on the water faster.”

Boats and trailers are one of the largest potential sources of spread of aquatic invasive species in the Western U.S. Under Lake Tahoe’s program, every motorized watercraft is inspected or decontaminated before launch, and paddle craft can opt for a free inspection at any regional inspection station. Since 2008, staff have inspected 113,000 boats for aquatic invasive species, which can have devastating environmental and economic impacts.

Boats can get on Lake Tahoe faster and safer by arriving Clean, Drained, and Dry at inspection stations. Credit: Generikal

A New Invasive Species in Lake Tahoe

In September 2023, the agencies confirmed the presence of a new aquatic invasive species in Lake Tahoe, the New Zealand mudsnail. It was the first detection of a new invasive in the region since mandatory inspections began in 2008.

“Now that Lake Tahoe is a higher risk to other waterbodies, it’s up to every boater, paddler, angler, and beachgoer to ensure they’re doing their part to limit its spread, within Lake Tahoe and throughout the region,” Boos said.

TRPA and Tahoe RCD immediately responded to the New Zealand mudsnail detection last year with updated watercraft inspection protocols and public education on the location of the mudsnails and how to limit their spread. Diver surveys showed the invasive species had infested a 3-mile area of Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, according to the assessment surveys.

Unrelated to the devastating Quagga and Zebra mussel, New Zealand mudsnails are about the size of a grain of rice (2-6-mm) and can rapidly reproduce. Densities of up to 10,000 snails per square meter were measured in the lake last year. First discovered in Idaho in 1987, they are currently found in 22 states including California and Nevada, and as close as the Lower Truckee River near Reno, Nev.

What You Can Do to Protect Lake Tahoe
  • Be vigilant about Clean, Drain, and Dry.
  • Heed special instructions for boaters, anglers, and non-motorized users and paddlers.
  • Paddlers can learn how to self-inspect and become a Tahoe Keeper.
  • Download the free Tahoe Boating App at for an interactive map that shows location relative to the New Zealand mudsnail infestation, as well as no-wake zones, area attractions, bathrooms, and more.
  • Look for mobile, solar-powered cleaning stations for kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes at popular recreation sites around the Tahoe Basin provided by the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
  • Look for and support roving inspectors at popular beaches and launch ramps this summer provided by funding from the Tahoe Fund and TRPA.


The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program is implemented by 40 public and private partner organizations, including federal, state, and local jurisdictions, research partners, public utility districts, and private marinas. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District lead the program in collaboration with the public and private partners. The program’s mission is to prevent, detect, and control aquatic invasive species in the Region so that future generations can enjoy Lake Tahoe. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, TRPA Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.