LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU), in partnership with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), has begun the largest invasive plant removal project at Lake Tahoe, the LTBMU said today. This new project will remove 17 acres of invasive plants in the Taylor and Tallac creeks and marshes as part of a comprehensive restoration of one of the last natural wetlands in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Left unchecked, aquatic invasive plants can have devastating effects on Tahoe’s ecosystem and recreational resources.

Installation of bottom barriers is underway at Taylor and Tallac marshes as part of the largest aquatic invasive plant removal project at Lake Tahoe. Photo credit: Tahoe Fund.

“Invasive plant eradication projects have typically been measured in single acres,” said Sarah Muskopf, Aquatic Biologist with the Forest Service. “Using new technologies, including larger mats, reduces the cost of implementation and allows us to meet restoration objectives more efficiently.”

Crews are staking large tarps known as bottom barriers to the bottom of the Tallac Marsh and hope to have all the tarps in place by early 2022. Bottom barriers starve invasive weeds such as Eurasian watermilfoil of sunlight and are commonly used in the Tahoe Basin to control infestations.

“Wetlands improve our region’s natural resiliency in the face of climate change by filtering runoff and other pollutants. The restoration of these marshes pays dividends in keeping the lake clear and improving wildlife habitat,” said Kat McIntyre, forest health program manager with TRPA.

This project falls under the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP), an unparalleled collaboration working to achieve the environmental goals of the region. Funding is provided by federal Lake Tahoe Restoration Act allocations as well as $100,000 in private contributions from the Tahoe Fund.

“We are thrilled to be able to support this absolutely critical invasive plant removal project thanks to the support of the Merrill Family Foundation,” said Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund. “It is inspiring to see our public agency partners take on a project of this size as they continue to tackle this ongoing threat to Tahoe’s water quality.”

The Forest Service asks recreators to use caution when walking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing in these areas as the mats are very slippery when wet or covered with snow. Also, please respect the fencing around the project for public safety and to help ensure the project is successful. The project will not impede access to Kiva and Baldwin beaches and is anticipated to last through 2024.