Lake Tahoe’s weed fight goes high tech

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
July 11, 2017 12:30pm
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•  Tests to see how effective UV light is in killing invasive weeds

•  “With more testing, we hope this could be a viable long-term tool”

Light boat in use

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A pilot project testing the use of ultra violet light to fight aquatic invasive weeds in Lake Tahoe is off to a promising start, according to the Tahoe Fund, which works on projects to protect the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The UV light boat has been deployed in South Lake Tahoe, on the California side of the lake, and has begun analyzing the effects of deep penetrating UV light on aquatic invasive weeds in Lakeside Marina and open water settings through 2018.

Within the first week of use, half of the weeds in the marina were destroyed. Research shows that ultraviolet-C (UVC) light could be an effective method to eliminate aquatic invasive plants. If proven successful, the light can be deployed in infested areas of Lake Tahoe and other clear water lakes around the world.

"It's exciting to see that after just a week, the half of the marina treated with the UV light is already weed free. With more testing, we hope this could be a viable long-term tool," says Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO. "By providing early-stage funding through our Environmental Venture Trust, we were able to help secure more than $260,000 in public funds to jumpstart this project. This is just the first of many venture stage environmental improvement projects around the Lake that Tahoe Fund can help kick-start."

"From our efforts in Emerald Bay, we know that invasive plant populations can be reduced, and with continued treatments and new tools, we can control weed populations around the lake," says Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program manager for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

The UV Light Pilot Project is a partnership among Tahoe Resource Conservation District, Inventive Resources Inc., the California Tahoe Conservancy and Tahoe Fund.


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