Lake Tahoe roadside boat inspection stations open for season | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe roadside boat inspection stations open for season

Submitted to The Sun

Roadside stations for inspections and decontaminations of motorized boats and watercraft are officially opening for the 2018 boating season.

And, according to a news release, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District is celebrating the success of fighting aquatic invasive species for the past 10 years. A key part of the effort, the release states, is the boat inspection program to prevent new species from entering Lake Tahoe.

"The fact that we are entering our 10th season with no new invasions, proves that boat inspections are 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 invasive species that could potentially enter the lake."

All motorized watercraft require an inspection for AIS prior to launching into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, Echo Lake, and Donner 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.

Since 2008, Tahoe RCD inspectors have performed over 70,000 vessel inspections and decontaminated 32,576 of them using hot water. Throughout the past 10 seasons inspectors have found hundreds of vessels containing foreign species such as mussels, snails and plant material.

"Boaters are encouraged to visit the website or call the hotline to learn how to clean, drain, and dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations," according to Chris Kilian, AIS program manager for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. "Save time and money by making sure to drain all water from the intake systems, clean out your vessel, and make sure it is dry. Taking these three simple steps will get you on the water faster."

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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. If your vessel is not Clean, Drain, and Dry, decontaminations are available for $35. There is an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags.

Invasive species are highly opportunistic 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. For more information visit TahoeBoatInspections.com/tahoe-keepers.

Source: Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Opening Tuesday, May 1

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 7 days a week

Meyers: at the junction of US Highway 50 and Highway 89

Spooner Summit: at the junction of US Highway 50 and Highway 28 in Nevada

Alpine Meadows: Highway 89, off Alpine Meadows Road north of Tahoe City

Opening Thursday, May 17

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 7 days a week

Truckee-Tahoe: Highway 267, off Truckee Airport Road