SPOONER SUMMIT, NV - The weather this weekend is going to be perfect for a trip to the lake, but as boaters head to the launch, they want to be sure they're not putting the ecosystem at risk. Last year 15,000 boats entered Lake Tahoe, and every one of them had the potential to bring an invasive species.
At the boat inspection on Spooner Summit on Friday, people were preparing for a busy weekend.
"The lake is as clean as it's going to be; I have to do my part to keep it as clean as it now," said Bruce McMillan, a Tahoe boater.
McMillan has been boating on the lake for years and says he understands the importance of preventing the spread of zebra and quagga mussels.
"I don't want those mussels in my boat," said McMillan.
The species can be detrimental to an ecosystem; once introduced they produce a million offspring a year and could destroy Lake Tahoe in a matter of two years.
"Once you get invasive species, frequently it's nearly impossible or impossible to get rid of them," said Chris Kilian, who is in charge of Tahoe boat inspections.
So for boats to go in to Lake Tahoe, they have be checked for an invasive species. Last year 13 boats were found to be infected and an additional 4,000 had to be cleaned because they posed a threat. So crews inspect a boat, check its hull for any water, and do a visual search for aquatic hitchhikers.
"Tahoe has a special status, and its a special place in all of our hearts because it is so clean and beautiful, and in order to keep it that way, this program is absolutely essential,"said Kilian.
An inspection doesn't take very long, and that way you can make it even quicker if your boat is cleaned, drained, and dry. that way you can get on the water quicker, which was exciting for Bruce.
"I'm going to go tear it up!" said McMillan.
While inspections are required at Lake Tahoe, an aquatic invasive species sticker is required on all other waterways in Nevada.