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Clam Control

Small invasive species population near Sand Harbor receives treatment to mitigate infestation
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Beginning mid-June, a team from the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program will begin implementation of an Asian clam control project at Sand Harbor. The project — a collaboration between the Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada State Parks, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency — will be funded through the Nevada license plate program and bonds from the state.

The main goal is to control a small, isolated population of Asian clams at Sand Harbor before they spread to an unmanageable level, damaging Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem. By treating infestation in the early stage, these impacts can be minimized or avoided.

Treatment will be accomplished by covering approximately 4 acres of the lake bottom near the boat ramp with thin rubber barriers. The barriers measure 10 feet by 100 feet and are placed by SCUBA divers over known populations of Asian clams on the bottom of the lake. Steel rebar on top of the barriers keeps them in place and deprives the covered clam population of oxygen.

The team working on the project is encouraging Sand Harbor boaters to avoid anchoring on top of the mats as to not disturb the mats, sand bags, and/or rebar.

Controlling the Asian clam population in Lake Tahoe is critical as the clams have a variety of negative impacts. Asian clams stimulate algae growth, which reduces the quality and clarity of Tahoe’s waters. They also may create more suitable habitat for quagga mussels, which can clog boat intakes, and they compete with native species for habitat and food, which causes a disruption in the food web.

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February 8, 2018