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New Lake Tahoe boating rules take effect

STATELINE — Boaters face new restrictions at Lake Tahoe under rules that took effect Saturday to deal with the threat of invasive mussels.

The rules, approved in September by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board, require all watercraft to undergo inspections and to be decontaminated if inspectors determine the vessels pose a risk of infesting the lake with quagga or zebra mussels.

The rules establish civil penalties for violations, and require the closure of boat ramps and launches when inspectors are not on duty.

The new restrictions come because of concern that Lake Tahoe is at risk of invasion from the mussels.

Biologists have said mussels, which cling to the underside of boats, could cause widespread problems if they became established in Tahoe.

Quagga mussels, previously found only in the Midwest and Northeast, were discovered in Lake Mead in early 2007 and have spread to other parts of Nevada and to Arizona and Southern California.

In January, zebra mussels, a cousin of the quagga, turned up in a California reservoir about 250 miles from Lake Tahoe.

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