Tahoe Boat Inspection Stations Open For Summer

Showing success in preventing new invasive species from entering the fragile waters of Lake Tahoe, the multiple roadside inspection and decontamization stations for motorized boats and watercraft are now open for the 2018 boating season.

Participating organizations are celebrating the success of fighting aquatic invasive species (AIS) for the past 10 years. A huge part of this success is due to the boat inspection program that has allowed us 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.”

Lake Tahoe Boat InspectionsAll 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. These species destroy fish habitat, ruin boat engines, and can negatively impact water quality and the local economy, recreation, and the 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. 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.”

Inspection Stations Opening Tuesday, May 1, 2018:

  • 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

2018 annual watercraft inspection fees remain unchanged from the previous 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 determined to not be clean, 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.

About the Lake Tahoe Watercraft Inspection Program
The Watercraft Inspection Program is part of the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program which is implemented by 40 public and private partner organizations including federal, state and local jurisdictions, research partners, public utility districts, and private marinas. The state, federal and local agencies comprising the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinating Committee have provided leadership, direction and resources to fulfill this program’s mission of prevention, detection and control of aquatic invasive species in the Lake Tahoe Region. Learn more about the watercraft inspection program and AIS information by visiting TahoeBoatInspections.com or calling (888) 824-6267.
The Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s mission is to promote the conservation, stewardship and knowledge of the Lake Tahoe Region’s natural resources by providing leadership and innovative environmental services to all stakeholders. Tahoe RCD is a division of local government that is non-regulatory, designed to implement local conservation measures. Our boundary covers the California side of the Tahoe Basin, although through collaboration and partnerships we have been granted authority to work outside District boundaries including the Nevada side of the Tahoe Basin and the Truckee River Watershed. Tahoe RCD strives to protect our natural resources including soil and water, wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration, control and prevention of invasive species, watershed restoration, wildfire prevention, and environmental education. Tahoe RCD is unique and diverse by being able to receive funding through state, federal, local, and private sources.