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One Step Ahead of Aquatic Invasive Species

Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake located along the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America; it is the United States second deepest lake at 1,645 feet. It is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California and much of the area surrounding Lake Tahoe is devoted to the tourism industry.

While beautiful to look at, Lake Tahoe is not without problems. In spite of land-use planning, the lake is becoming increasingly eutrophic with the largest source of fine sediment particles coming from urban stormwater runoff. Also, like many of the nation’s water bodies, aquatic invasive species (AIS) are threatening the lake as well.

An AIS program that was implemented in 2007 keeps evolving and this was a very successful year for the program. 63% of the vessels inspected in 2011 had to be decontaminated before being allowed to enter Lake Tahoe. Of the 30,400 boats that were launched, 7,600 had to be checked for AIS and 4,800 of those needed to be decontaminated.

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Northern Lakes are Losing Their Ice Cover - Changes in ice cover can drive negative changes in fish populations and the health of aquatic vegetation (not to mention patterns of algal bloom) as well as undesirable shifts in water chemistry and nutrient content.

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