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Biden-Harris Admin spends $3 million on projects protecting Lake Tahoe Basin

Biologist shows off fish
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USFWS’s Senior Fishery Biologist Roy Ulibarri shows a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout to a mother and child at a stocking event with the Washoe Tribe.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced on June 20 it  would spend over $3 million to fund projects that protect the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The funds were part of the administration’s Investing In America agenda, which used $2 billion in investments to restore America’s lands and waters. The initiative sought to include the Washoe Tribe in restoration efforts around Lake Tahoe and mainly addressed invasive species.

Roy Ulibarry, a senior fishery biologist at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery complex for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, commended the effort to include the tribe in the initiative.

“It’s been great to have this funding opportunity for the Washoe Tribe, to really put them in a leadership role and push for tribal priorities in their ancestral lands,”Ulibarry said.

Most of the funds were allocated to building permanent watercraft inspection stations around Lake Tahoe, which Ulibarry said are a high priority for Aquatic Invasive Species management. Since watercraft inspection stations were introduced in 2008, there have been no new invasive species introduced into the lake.

“We’ve seen how successful they’ve been at stopping aquatic invasive species coming in and so bolstering up those programs is a top priority in this funding source,” he said.

In addition to preventative and eradication measures for invasive species, the Fish and Wildlife Service has also been reintroducing Tahoe’s native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout back into Lake Tahoe. They have tagged 25% of the fish, hoping that anglers who catch them will report these catches to help track distribution, survival, and growth over time.

In addition to these projects, a portion of last year’s $3.4 million were spent on a survey to determine the feasibility of a redesign of the marina in South Lake Tahoe to reduce the safe habitat available to invasive species. In a massive collaboration called the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program, implemented by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, benthic barriers–tarps intended to block out sunlight–were installed in the Taylor and Tallac creeks to eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive aquatic weed.

Sophia Holm is a student reporter for KUNR and the Hitchcock Project for Visualizing Science, which is part of the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Sophia Holm (she/her) is a Lake Tahoe resident with a deep passion for nature and an even stronger love for storytelling. She strives to provide KUNR’s listening region with strong stories about climate news, issues, and solutions as the station’s Summer 2023 Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science Intern.
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