League to Save Lake Tahoe to host an aquatic invasive species training session in Incline Village | SierraSun.com

League to Save Lake Tahoe to host an aquatic invasive species training session in Incline Village

For the past half century, the League to Save Lake Tahoe has worked to raise awareness about protecting the lake's famous clarity.

The organization will continue that undertaking on Wednesday, Aug. 23, partnering with High Sierra Gardens to host Eyes on the Lake, an aquatic invasive species training session.

Whether it is spotting a floating piece of Eurasian watermilfoil while paddling along the lake, or coming across a chunk of curlyleaf pondweed, the League to Save Lake Tahoe wants to know, and wants more trained eyes looking for these invasive species.

Eyes on the Lake is the league's volunteer program, aimed to curtail the spread of aquatic invasive plants by teaching the public to identify and report them to its website.

"It's our program to encourage locals and visitors that while they are out on the water, to be our eyes," Natural Resources Manager Zack Bradford said. "We give volunteers an introduction on what are the aquatic invasive species in Tahoe. We have a lab set up where they can see these plants and we also take them out in the field, go to an infestation and see what it looks like, and give them a chance to identify invasive plants on the lake."

The group will meet at High Sierra Gardens in Incline Village to host a training session on identifying aquatic invasive plants and what to do when they're spotted.

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Bradford said many of the training sessions the organization puts on throughout the summer months take place in the field or in laboratory settings, but Wednesday's event will be more casual with wine and food being served during the session.

"We wanted to give more opportunity for the community to interact with scientists and learn more about efforts that are going on in Tahoe," Bradford said. "We are going to have more of a free-flowing training with getting the other agencies involved in the state of the lake with the spread of aquatic invasive species."

Members of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center and Tahoe Resource Conservation District will also be on hand.

Tahoe's two primary aquatic invasive species — Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed — hurt the lake's clarity by outcompeting native plants and altering near-shore environments, according to Bradford, which can form suitable environments for other invasive species.

In the early 1960s, the lake's clarity level was measured at over 100 feet in depth, according to information from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, but since that time the average annual clarity has dipped as low as 65 feet and now hovers around 75 feet.

The Eyes on the Lake's free training will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To RSVP for the event contact protect@keeptahoeblue.org.

"It's a great opportunity for visitors, locals — everybody coming here," Bradford said. "We're all enjoying the lake, and this is something easy to do while you're out playing and having fun."

To report an aquatic invasive plant, visit keeptahoeblue.org/our-work/current-priorities/eyes.