Lake Tahoe, CA/NV — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board has approved updates to Lake Tahoe watercraft inspection fees and added enhancements to make inspections more convenient following an unprecedented year for the program, the agency said today.

TRPA and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) began the watercraft inspection program in 2008 to protect Lake Tahoe from harmful aquatic invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, that have devastated aquatic ecosystems across the Western U.S. The organizations regularly review annual boater fees for inspection services to ensure the top goals of protecting Lake Tahoe and providing a high level of customer service are maintained, according to TRPA.

Boaters are reminded if the plan to launch prior to May 1, it is critical they show up at the ramp clean, drained, and dry to ensure they are able to launch to avoid being sent to another location for decontamination.

“This program is looked to as a model across the nation and its success is critical for Lake Tahoe, boaters and paddlers, and our communities,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said. “Our success depends on maximizing protection while providing safe, dependable service to boaters.”

The update is in response to inflationary increases and the need to hire and retain highly qualified inspection staff, according to the agency. Since inspections began 12 years ago, there have been no new invasive species detected in Lake Tahoe and hundreds of boats carrying invasive species have been intercepted and decontaminated before launch. In 2020, the number of intercepted boats doubled over the prior year.

An optional appointment system will be available for a $15 convenience fee. Each of the three regional inspection stations will have at least two inspection lanes available at all times. One will be for appointments and drop-in boaters, while the other will be dedicated to drop-ins only. The appointment system will be available at www.tahoeboatinspections.com ahead of the summer season.

The 2021 annual sticker fees are available here.

Also updated for this year, the North Shore inspection station will return to Alpine Meadows and no inspections will be conducted at the Truckee airport. Alpine Meadows will have four inspection lanes open on peak days to ensure demand can be met. The Spooner Summit, Nev. and Meyers, Calif. stations are expected to open as usual this summer as well.

Currently, during winter operations inspection services are only available at the Cave Rock Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and Lake Forest Tahoe City, Calif. boat ramps. Boaters are reminded if they plan to launch prior to May 1, it is critical they show up at the ramp clean, drained, and dry to ensure they are able to launch and to avoid being sent to another location for decontamination.

An introduction of non-native species could devastate Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem and native fisheries, impact boats and recreation areas, and could cost the Tahoe Basin more than $20 million annually, according to studies.

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.

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