Invasive Species Threaten Tahoe's Clarity and Ecosystems

One of the biggest threats to Lake Tahoe is the introduction and spread of invasive species. Weeds and non-native snails are changing the lake’s ecosystem, concentrating nutrients, causing algae blooms and creating habitat for more invasives like goldfish and bass. 

What invasive species are already established in Tahoe?

Asian clams, Eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed are already established in Tahoe and are here to stay. They are responsible for considerable shoreline degradation, impacting how recreationists experience Tahoe. Our volunteer program Eyes on the Lake aims to keep the invasive plants from spreading to new locations.

Invasive mussels are not in Tahoe, but are at its doorstep.

An infestation of invasive mussels is an immediate threat to Lake Tahoe. The quagga and zebra mussels reproduce and colonize quickly and if introduced to Lake Tahoe would do irreparable damage to its ecosystem.

Boat inspections became mandatory in 2008, and inspectors frequently find invasive species on boats attempting to launch at Lake Tahoe.

These boats are quarantined and decontaminated. But quagga and zebra mussels are often extremely difficult to see. Please help us to protect Lake Tahoe by taking the following precautions:
  • If you are planning to launch a boat from shore and the boat has been in any other body of water, be sure to clean, drain, and dry it completely. Give it a thorough visual inspection. If you notice anything suspicious, take it to a public boat launch where it can be examined by a certified inspector.
  • All public boat launches and marinas are now staffed by a boat inspector who examines boats for evidence of mussels. Boat launches are only open when an inspector is present.
  • Paddlers, kayakers and other non-motorized watercraft users should visit for free training on how to inspect their craft. 

Inspection fees for motorized boats range from $20-$120, depending on the size of boat. All funds go directly to the inspection program. There is currently no charge to inspect a nonmotorized watercraft.

For more information on boat inspections, visit

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