Now in its 29th year, TRPA’s annual Best in Basin awards program showcases projects around the Lake that demonstrate exceptional planning, implementation and compatibility with Tahoe’s natural environment and communities. The League to Save Lake Tahoe (The League) and the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) were awarded for their collaborative work on a “bubble curtain” to control and curtail the spread of aquatic invasive plants into Lake Tahoe.

Invasive plants like Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed have been growing out of control in the Tahoe Keys for years, and now they are spreading into Lake Tahoe proper. These plants move into Lake Tahoe by attaching to the thousands of boats leaving the Keys every year. Left unchecked, these invasive plants threaten to destroy Lake Tahoe’s native ecology, pristine water quality and famous clarity.

Along with a team of Canadian scientists, the League and TKPOA designed, funded and installed a custom underwater wall of bubbles across the channel between the Tahoe Keys lagoons and Lake Tahoe. The tiny bubbles dislodge plant fragments from boats passing through the curtain and moves the fragments to the edges of the channel where they are collected by skimmers and removed.

The objective of this project is to control the spread of invasive plants while the League, TKPOA and other collaborators determine a long-term solution. In the meantime, work continues in pilot testing other ways to stop the spread of aquatic invasive plants before it is too late. Click here to learn more about other innovative methods being tested in the Tahoe Keys.

You can be part of the solution by becoming a citizen scientist volunteer. Click to learn more about the League’s Eyes on the Lake program and the Citizen Science app.