As you may know, aquatic invasive species (AIS) are fouling water bodies across the country and have the potential to pose major biological and infrastructure damage. Nevada has not been immune to this problem as Lake Mead has become infested with Quagga mussels which have seriously damaged the lake’s ecology. This problem has also increased the cost of municipal water supply and treatment for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. In Northern Nevada, these mussels have also been detected in juvenile form in nearby Lahontan Reservoir.
The Truckee River system, along with other waterways and lakes in Northern Nevada, is blessed with very high quality water. However, the Truckee River system has indeed been impacted by invasive species as seen by the recent establishment of Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe Keys; Asian clams at Emerald Bay and Donner Lake; and most recently, the detection of New Zealand mudsnails in many local reaches of the Truckee River. All of these species are fast-multiplying invaders that threaten to overwhelm the ecosystems in our waterways.
Here in the Truckee Meadows, protecting the quality of the region’s drinking water source is clearly the top priority of Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA). As such, TMWA has been vigorously engaged in the battle to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and has supported the development and implementation of the watercraft inspection and decontamination program currently in effect for Lake Tahoe. TMWA also supports a similar program soon to be implemented at other reservoirs within the Truckee River watershed. Funding from The Truckee River Fund is being used to accomplish this effort. Established by TMWA in 2005, the Fund supports projects and programs that protect and enhance water quality of the Truckee River and its watershed. Some might find the watercraft inspections to be inconvenient. However, to the TMWA staff who are dedicated to delivering great quality drinking water, this small delay helps protect our waterways which is vitally important to not only our drinking water supply, but to everyone’s recreational enjoyment and our tourism based economy.
Remember, when you encounter a watercraft inspection, what you really are seeing is water quality preservation in action – designed to prevent a “Lake Mead” type infestation in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River system. Please support these efforts.
By: Ron Penrose, Project Manager, Truckee Meadows Water Authority
Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) is a not-for-profit water utility, overseen by elected officials from Reno, Sparks and Washoe County. TMWA employs a highly skilled team who ensure the treatment, delivery and availability of high-quality drinking water around the clock for more than 330,000 residents of the Truckee Meadows.