September 25, 2019 marked the fifth year that the League to Save Lake Tahoe hosted its Eyes on the Lake marina training. 17 staff from 10 marinas around Lake Tahoe gathered at Ski Run Marina for their annual refresher on aquatic plant identification.
The calm, shallow, warm waters found in marinas offer the perfect habitat for aquatic invasives like Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed to take hold. Once established they not only become entangled in boat props but also create habitat for other more harmful invasives such as warm-water fish. A handful of marinas around the Lake are already dealing with the challenges caused by these unwanted plants while other marinas are doing everything they can to prevent an infestation from starting.
In 2015 the League partnered with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to make Eyes on the Lake trainings an annual requirement of their Marina General Permit. Since then marina staff have spent one day each September with League experts to learn how to identify these plants, survey their own marinas and submit reports to Lahontan. Aside from plant identification attendees also learn about best management practices for either keeping plants from entering their marina (if plant free) or from letting the plants spread out of their marinas into Lake Tahoe (if infested). All participating marinas received a custom Eyes on the Lake sign this year to proudly display on-site.
These marinas are taking a proactive approach to managing aquatic invasive plants at Lake Tahoe and often serve as the last line of defense between these invaders and Tahoe’s cobalt waters. Marina staff also educate boaters about these threats to the Lake.
Next time you’re on the water at Lake Tahoe be sure to ask your favorite marina staffer how you can help protect Lake Tahoe from aquatic invasive species.