Truckee looks for funding of aquatic invasive species program at Donner Lake
Truckee is working on funding for Donner Lake’s aquatic invasive species program after losing grant funding this year.
“Our program in Truckee was 100 percent funded by the grant,” said Truckee Police Chief Chief Robert Leftwich. “I don’t think the grant funding is the appropriate path forward.”
In the past the program has been funded by three separate grants, one from the Truckee River Fund and two from the Division of Boating and Waterways. All three grants expired in December last year.
“This is the first year our program is unfunded,” said Deverie Acuff, support services manager for Truckee.
Inspection stations can cost between $90,000 to $145,000 depending on the number of boats that are inspected each year. To get through this season the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has agreed to help cover the costs this summer. Acuff said nothing will change for boater this summer.
“We had all intentions of applying for another grant in 2018,” said Acuff who added that the grants did not become available last year. The grant opening was pushed to April of this year with funds unavailable until October, after boating season is over. This year the division of boating and waterways also separated the grant into two parts.
The first grant is available to agencies looking to update their prevention plan with the second being an actual operations grant. To get the operations grant Truckee must first update their outdated prevention plan.
Donner Lake has three boat launch sites, two of which are privately owned by the Tahoe Donner Marina and Donner Lake Homeowners Association. When staff isn’t present those sites are closed. The public boat launch, however is always open despite a staff presence. During off season there is no one monitoring the boat launch, Acuff said.
“There’s no one there monitoring that lake so people can go on and off as they please. That’s what these programs are working towards,” she said. “A closed access to make sure we know who is going on and off the lake and ensuring they’ve all been inspected.”
“The threat of the quagga and zebra mussels is not going away anytime soon,” said Leftwich. “We are at the lower end of that risk scale but that doesn’t mean we need to be complacent.”
Moving forward Leftwich said they are looking to find a funding source not reliant on grants.
“Although things are stabilized for this boating season, we are still optimistic but concerned about what the following year has to bring with the financial implications,” he said.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.