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Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV May 10, 2020 – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) has announced a phased approach to boating that discourages out-of-area visitation as part of state and local coordination on recreation guidelines for Lake Tahoe this season.
TRPA’s annual distribution of Lake Tahoe aquatic invasive species (AIS) decals to marinas and launch facilities will be in line with direction from state and local officials, the agency said today. No visiting boats from out of the region can launch until public health orders are further relaxed.
The agency has been working closely with marinas, launch sites, public health officials, and the Nevada and California governors’ offices on a date to begin opening the lake, first to boats that have intact aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection seals. Vessels with an intact inspection seal, which are called “Tahoe Only” boats, are typically stored or trailered locally. Allowing them to launch would not invite widespread visitation to the Region, according to agency officials.
“As some areas begin to see the COVID curve flatten, it is critical that boaters, government leaders, and marina managers follow a phased approach that addresses public health and environmental concerns.” TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation and encourage boaters to stay up to date on when facilities will open by visiting tahoeboatinspections.com.”
A Lake Tahoe invasive species seal shows that a boat does not need to be inspected or decontaminated to prevent an introduction of harmful invasive species. Inspection stations for AIS remain closed under COVID-19 orders. Owners of “Tahoe In & Out” vessels visit other waterbodies during the boating year and approximately 85 percent of them are from outside the Tahoe Basin. These boats would only be considered to launch in future phases after health orders are further relaxed.
The Lake Tahoe Marina Association said over the next several weeks, marinas and launch facilities are tackling the significant amount of work necessary to ready customer boats and facilities. “The association appreciates the opportunity to work with TRPA, the states and counties in the Lake Tahoe basin, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe on a plan to restart operations and begin preparations of a phased opening for boating activities,” Marina Association Secretary Cathy Walsh said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the entire Tahoe Community.”
Agencies remind boaters to practice safe physical distancing from others outside of their household and to follow local and state health guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19 disease. Boaters should also stay informed of recreation area closure orders and guidelines when coming ashore. For more information on when various marinas and launch sites will open, consistent with state and local COVID orders, visit www.tahoeboatinspections.com.
The Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program is implemented by 40 public and private partner organizations, including federal, state, and local jurisdictions, research partners, public utility districts, and private marinas. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District lead the program in collaboration with the public and private partners. The program’s mission is to prevent, detect, and control aquatic invasive species in the Region so that future generations can enjoy Lake Tahoe. For additional information, contact Jeff Cowen, TRPA Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.
For Non-Motorized Watercraft
Users of non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks and paddleboards, are subject to different policies than motorized. TRPA recommends non-motorized boaters review and comply with COVID-19 closure orders and recommendations at their intended launch area. The agency reminds paddlers to always self-inspect and decontaminate watercraft and gear every time they exit a waterway and properly dispose of any plants or debris that are found. Guidelines require all craft to be Clean, Drained, and Dry to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Aquatic invasive species can have devastating environmental and economic impacts on industries, communities, and native species populations. Watercraft are the largest source for spreading aquatic invasive species into new waterways. Under the Lake Tahoe watercraft inspection program, every motorized watercraft is inspected to ensure it is Clean, Drained, and Dry and not carrying invasive species before launching at Lake Tahoe. Thanks to the diligence of boaters and inspectors, no new aquatic invasive species have been detected in Lake Tahoe since the program launched in 2008.