13 contaminated boats intercepted in 2014 from entering Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

13 contaminated boats intercepted in 2014 from entering Lake Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE — Officials are urging boaters to ensure their vessels are clean and dry before arriving at Lake Tahoe’s roadside inspection stations for the Fourth of July Weekend.

Since May, Tahoe Resource Conservation District inspectors have intercepted and decontaminated 13 boats containing invasive species from entering the lake, according to a news release last week.

Three of these boats contained quagga mussels, and another three were carrying unidentified snail species, officials said.

“The fact that several Tahoe-bound boats with invasive species present have already been intercepted this year underscores the importance of watercraft inspections…” said Dennis Zabaglo, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, in a statement.

TRCD, in partnership with TRPA, instituted boat inspections in 2008 to prevent the introduction of invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels into the lake. The locust-like mollusks (and other invasives) could wreak havoc on Tahoe’s environment and economy, according to previous reports.

Decontaminations include a vigorous spraying of hot water, similar to a pressure washer, on a boat’s hull, motor and other areas until the threat is eliminated.

“Inspectors see more than one third of annual boat traffic during the summer holidays, so arriving clean, drained and dry will help save time and will also avoid a fee for decontamination,” Zabaglo said.

All inspection stations close at 5:30 p.m. Inspection fees range from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet, and are payable via MasterCard or Visa (no cash or check).

Visit TahoeBoatInspections.com for inspection locations, hours, fees and more information.

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