Bruce Ajari: Invasive species could have huge consequences |

Bruce Ajari: Invasive species could have huge consequences

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; It seems like every day now there is some new news account of an invasive specie issue. Two weeks ago it was all about the boat that got stopped coming in to Lake Tahoe from Lake Mead that was infested with quagga mussels.

Last week, there was the confirmation that smallmouth bass are in Lake Tahoe. Smallmouth bass are a non-native species that could threaten the established trout fishery in Tahoe.

According to scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno, these fish pose the most serious threat to the native biodiversity. Smallmouth can survive in cold water and favor rocky areas in which to spawn.

Smallmouth also pose a significant threat to the native forage fish in the lake, the Lahontan redsides, suckers and chubs are all highly susceptible to the predacious bass.

Populations of these forage fish have already seen a significant decline in Lake Tahoe. I have also noticed a decline in Donner Lake.

Someone has been introducing these fish in our outlying waters for years. There are established populations in Boca, Prosser, Stampede and more recently in Martis Lake.

The list of non-native introductions seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. An uneducated boater may introduce some, like the quagga mussel. Others like the smallmouth bass are the result of what many call environmental terrorism. The latter is certainly more disconcerting.

A person that is deliberately and illegally introducing a species to the detriment of the existing species really has no regard for the law. These individuals should be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

These illegal introductions have huge environmental and economic consequences. Just take a look at the impact that the illegal introduction of northern pike had on Davis Lake and the community of Portola.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.

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