Lake Tahoe’s Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board just approved the use of pesticides in Lake Tahoe’s waters. Lahontan wants to use herbicides and pesticides in Lake Tahoe to halt the advance of invasive species.
“In a vote on Dec. 7, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board approved changes to its overall Basin plan that would allow the use of pesticides in Lake Tahoe. The changes must still be approved by the state water board, the Office of Administrative Law, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before going into effect, said Mary Wagner, environmental scientist with Lahontan. But the approval of pesticide use in Tahoe could be in effect as soon as next summer, said Wagner.” – David Bunker/Moonshine Ink
Carl Young, the executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe (think ‘keep tahoe blue’ stickers), feels the plan to use pesticides in the lake is a direct danger to public health and water quality.
“I think honestly this is coming down to human health issues. They can say all they want that it won’t harm people, but it’s poison and it can kill things.” – Carl Young
“The best thing for the environment and human health is to treat it with non-chemical methods” – Carl Young
“The weeds and the Asian clams, we need to accept that we are most likely going to have those forever. We most likely will not be able to eradicate those, but we can control them.” – Carl Young
WHY POISON LAKE TAHOE?
– Pesticides & herbicides could be used to attempt to eliminate Eurasian Milfoil (plant), Curlyleaf Pondweed, Asian Clams
POISONS LIKELY TO BE USED IN LAKE TAHOE:
– Copper Sulfate for the Asian Clams
(Copper Sulfate is an irritant and is linked to organ damage & negative reproductive effects in humans)
– Glyphosate (RoundUp) for the Eurasian Milfoil & Curly Leaf Pondweed
(Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp and is linked to negative reproductive effects, organ damage, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neurotoxicity, and more in humans)
“In Tahoe, the toxins most likely to be used would be herbicides to combat invasive plants like Eurasian milfoil or curlyleaf pondweed. But those herbicides have equally concerning effects on non-target species and human health. Diquat and endothall are two highly toxic herbicides that are used to combat one of Tahoe’s main invasive species, the curlyleaf pondweed, in other parts of the nation.” – David Bunker/Moonshine Ink
Dan Sussman, an environmental scientist working for the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, supports using pesticides in Lake Tahoe.
“There are circumstances where they (Lahontan board) believe pesticides could be justified to promote the ecological integrity of a lake, and the public health and safety. It’s really not a promotion of pesticide use, but allowing more information to come forward and allowing our board to have discretion to decide.” – Dan Sussman
Dan goes on to say that pesticides are “one more tool in the toolbox” for fighting invasive species in Lake Tahoe.
LAKE TAHOE’S INVASIVE SPECIES:
– The asian clams were brought to the USA in the 1920 as food for humans. They have now become a pest in Lake Tahoe and they spread rapidly.
– Eurasian Milfoil & Curly Leaf Pondweed are problems because they clog Tahoe’s water supply system pipes and spread rapidly.
LAKE TAHOE FACTS:
– 54% of Lake Tahoe’s residents get their drinking water from Lake Tahoe
– Largest alpine lake in North America
– 1,645 feet deep, 2nd deepest lake in USA behind 1,949 foot deep Crater Lake in Oregon
– 26th largest lake by volume in the world at 122,160,280 acre feet
– Lake Tahoe has a clarity of 70 feet down from 100 feet when first recorded in the late 1960s
– 99.9% pure water, making it one of the cleanest natural water sources on Earth
If this issue interests you, please read the Moonshine Ink article on it. It’s fascinating to learn about the instances where California has used large doses of pesticides in other California lakes to kill off Nothern Pike (a fish). Read the article here:
David Bunker/Moonshine Ink: Toxic Treatment for Tahoe?
Let’s hear from you guys. Should the government be allowed to put pesticides and herbicides in Lake Tahoe?