State attacks Sand Harbor Asian clam infestation | RecordCourier.com

State attacks Sand Harbor Asian clam infestation

Staff Reports

A team from the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Program is scheduled to begin implementation of an Asian clam control project in mid-June at Sand Harbor. Funding for this project is coming from the Nevada Lake Tahoe License Plate Program and Tahoe Bonds from the state.

The goal of the clam control project, a collaboration between the Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada State Parks, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is to treat a small, isolated population of Asian clams at Sand Harbor before they spread to an unmanageable level. 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.

Tears or other damage to the mats will reduce their effectiveness and may result in the need for prolonged treatment. To help ensure the success of this project, please do not anchor on top of mats or 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 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. Once dead, Asian clam shells wash ashore, creating hazardous conditions for boaters and the recreating public.

By treating infestation in the early stage, these impacts can be minimized or avoided. The treatment will also help prevent the spread of these invasive clams to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

For more information, please visit parks.nv.gov/sandharbor