The Tahoe Keys have 172 acres of waterways with 1,529 homes and townhouses along with commercial businesses. The waterways include the Lake Tallac Lagoon (a storm water collection basin for South Lake Tahoe), the West Lagoon, and the East Lagoon. Both the West and East lagoons have direct connections to Lake Tahoe via the West and East channels.
There are now 3 macrophyte species causing problems for boaters of the keys. These species are Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), curlyleaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), and the native coontail (Ceratophyllum demursum). The species thrive during the summer when growing conditions are ideal. Every winter aquatic macrophytes die off and deposit a layer of detritus that decomposers break down into nutrients that fuel plant growth the following year. This excessive plant growth is a major cause for poor water quality in the Tahoe Keys lagoons. The TKPOA has been attempting to find a solution to this problem for decades.
Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (LRWQCB) issued the TKPOA a Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) permit: Executive Order No. R6T-2014-0059. This specifies that the TKPOA must improve the control of aquatic invasive plants in the Tahoe Keys lagoons. The WDRs also state that the TKPOA must develop an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) for aquatic macrophytes and a Nonpoint Source Plan (NPS Plan) to improve water quality. The TKPOA voluntarily added Baseline Water Quality Program in 2016. The goal of the Baseline Water Quality Program is to establish an inventory for several water quality and sediment parameters. The baseline data will be used in future years to detect changes in water quality resulting from aquatic plant control methods implemented under the IMP and to monitor surface water input for the NPS Plan.
Property in and around the Tahoe Keys lagoons is controlled by multiple landowners including individual property owners, Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association, Tahoe Keys Beach and Harbor Association, Tahoe Keys Marina along with other commercial and governmental ownership. The TKPOA maintains the waterways for boating and other recreation. However, the ownership situation makes managing the waterways difficult as owners are not required to adapt to the TKPOA best management practices for the Integrated Management Plan (IMP).
The TKPOA has been working to control the plants in the lagoons by looking for long-term, integrative solutions for decades, working with a broad-range of scientific experts, associations and agencies to vet an exhaustive list of potential plant control measures while examining and evaluating new techniques and technologies as they arise. .
TKPOA is committed to solving the invasive plant problem and has so far spent $3,700,000 to manage the invasive plants and to develop improved methods. We're expected to spend another $2,500,000 by 2020. This funding comes from special assessments paid for by the property owners, along with grant funding and other private funding.
The 1,500 Tahoe Keys property owners consistently support invasive plant management strategies in and out of the water including: Voting for a special assessment to continue funding the invasive plant management program.
- Committing to Lake Friendly Landscaping and irrigation practices to protect water quality from nutrient runoff.
- Labeling all storm drains in Tahoe Keys to address and educate residents about nutrient runoff.
- The Water Quality Committee volunteers hundred of hours per year toward these efforts.
TKPOA has collaborated with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District and US Forest Service since 2011. We have also worked with the League to Save Lake Tahoe to implement ways to prevent plant fragment spread.