• Our Work

    The Association has worked to control these plants and has been researching long-term solutions for decades, working with a broad-range of scientific experts, agencies and stakeholders.

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    As one of numerous places aquatic invasive plants have infested in Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Keys has taken a leadership role in thorough, exhaustive scientific research to find the best methods to address aquatic invasive plants.
    • TKPOA has spent $3,700,000 to date, and anticipates spending $2,000,000 more by 2020.
       
    • This spending has resulted in a rigorous scientific process including more than 20 scientific reports dating back to 2004 and extensive scientific monitoring.
       
    • It has also been a collaborative process consulting with numerous agencies, regional organizations and scientific experts including Pat Akers of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Joe DiTomaso of UC Davis, Kurt Getsinger of the Army Corps of Engineers, Sudeep Chandra of UN Reno and Joel Trumbo with California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
       
    • Owners of Tahoe Keys’ 1,529 properties have gone above and beyond – voting to assess themselves for continued funding of this work, improving landscaping and irrigation practices (click here to see how), labeling all storm drains and participating in numerous volunteer activities. The Water Quality Committee has volunteered thousands of hours toward these efforts.
       
    • And the Association isn't waiting for the approval of proposed methods to address these plants - staff has continuously evaluated and improved current methods including harvesting and fragment control - including the purchase of a new Omnicat skimmer boat and the installation of a boat backup station (click here to learn more).
       
    • The Association has also implemented the Nonpoint Source Water Quality Management Plan, reducing runoff coming from above-water Tahoe Keys property that could impact water quality and potentially provide nutrients for the aquatic invasive species.

      TIMELINE

      1980s:

      Infestation & Response

      • Native to Europe and Asia, Eurasian Watermilfoil was introduced to Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Keys in the 1980s. No one knows how specifically, but it is likely from home aquarium dumping, or transported accidentally by boat.
      • Harvesting begins.
      1990s-2000s:

      Investigation & Harvesting

      • The harvesting and fragment control program continues and grows as the infestation grows.
      2011-2014:
      Research & Coordination
      • Initial collaboration with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Resource Conservation District
      • Initial experiments with bottom barriers
      • Comprehensive literature research on control methods
      • Informational consultations with Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lake
        Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinating Committee and others
      • Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) Permit issued in 2014, necessitating
        Integrated Management Plan and Nonpoint Source Water Quality Management Plan.
      2015-2016
      Research & Collaboration
      • Education and outreach to homeowners, landscaping companies and other land owners for Nonpoint Source Plan
      • Independent Scientific Panel review of Integrated Management Plan
      • Fragment Control method evaluation including new boats, boat backup station
      • Alternative methods research and field study
      • Water quality monitoring and study
      • Collaboration with stakeholders in planning process, including the Lake Tahoe Water
        Suppliers Association, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Sierra Club, Tahoe
        Resource Conservation District, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lahontan
        Regional Water Quality Control Board
      2017-2020
      Implementation, demonstration & evaluation
      • Small-scale herbicide test followed by non-herbicide methods pending approval (2018-2020)
      • Non-herbicide combination methods evaluation pending funding (diver assisted pulling, broader bottom barrier use) 2017-2019
      • Long-term Integrated Management Plan (2020)
    • Current Control Methods

      Mechanical Harvesting & Fragment Collection

       

      To date, this has been the main method of weed control in the Tahoe Keys – and it hasn’t been successful. The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association has spent up to $400,000 a year on this method, only to see weeds increase in volume. But with new technology and methodologies, the association aims to reduce fragments created by harvesting that can spread and create new plants. In 2017, TKPOA staff removed 9,996 cubic yards (that's more than 900 dump trucks) of aquatic invasive plants from its lagoons, an undertaking that totaled more than 6,000 man-hours of work.

       

      Bottom Barriers

       

      Bottom barriers, mats designed to smother aquatic invasive weeds, are currently being used in the Tahoe Keys. The Association is allowed a total of five acres of bottom barrier coverage (Tahoe Keys are 172 acres in water-covered area). While effective for small areas, they kill all plants, not just invasive weeds. Bottom barriers are useful for relatively small scale infestations and for individual property owners around their docks. In 2017, the Association placed the largest bottom barrier coverage to date.

       

      Cultural Controls

       

      By working with property owners to reduce runoff and use of fertilizers on land (the association has banned phosphorous-containing fertilizers), less nutrients will be introduced into the water that may contribute to weed growth. The Lake and Lagoon Friendly Landscaping Campaign, launched in 2016, aims to minimize these nutrients while also generally improving water quality. The association has also created a boat backup station and associated educational materials to reduce the spread of fragments that can create new infestations around the lake

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