The harvesting season is right around the corner and I wanted to give everyone a brief overview of how harvesting operations will be conducted and what the upcoming projects will be occurring throughout the season.
My name is Greg Hoover and I am the Water Quality Manager and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Coordinator for the TKPOA. I will be overseeing all of the harvesting and fragment control operations, spill response and the AIS Program based the direction from the TKPOA Board of Directors and Water Quality Committee.
Our harvesting schedule will be similar to last year. The West Channel will be harvested on a 20 day (19 harvesting days and one maintenance day) rotation and the East Channel / Lake Tallac Lagoon will be harvested on a 25 day (13 days East Channel / 11 days in Lake Tallac Lagoon followed by a maintenance day in between) rotation. This year the Association only has three harvesters compared to five in years past. Our focus will be on the navigation lanes first, then with time permitting we will operate in and around the docks and slips.
Harvesting operations will begin June 17th this year. We will be operating with a limited staff until after the July 4th holiday. The reason for this is the high, cold water will stunt the growth of the plants and we are expecting the peak growing season to be later in the summer season. Our intentions are to start the harvesting operations later but we will harvest until the end of October.
At the beginning of last season, the Board of Directors and the Water Quality Committee’s intent was to reduce the amount of weed fragments within our lagoons and waterways. The TKPOA has purchased and installed a Bubble Curtain in the West Channel between the Tahoe Keys lagoons and Lake Tahoe. The Bubble Curtain consists of multiple hoses that are submerged at the bottom of the waterway and are fed by an air compressor on the shore to push bubbles in a sheet, throughout the water column, to the surface. It was installed in a “V” formation to drive submerged plant fragments to the water’s surface, and then to the edges of the channel to ease collection and removal. An additional benefit of the bubble curtain is that it will trap the stray fragments without impeding boating activity. This technology is being used in other locations around the world (including places with currents, tides and swells) to prevent debris from moving through an area—this is the first time this technology has been used to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plants.
Currently, we are in the process of better facilitating the fragment control at the West Channel and improving on the systems that we have in place. We have installed bottom barriers under the bubble curtain lines to ensure that plant growth does not interfere with its design. The Association has also purchased two Sea Bins that will be placed on either end of the bubble curtain to capture and remove fragments as they are corralled. These Sea Bins will be placed in the West Channel at the beginning of June.
The Association, with funding support from the League to Save Lake Tahoe, is conducting a three year project called the Laminar Flow Aeration (LFA). LFA is a technology used for improving water quality where there is consistently low dissolved oxygen and buildup of fine organic sediment. The technology uses microporous ceramic disks that are placed throughout the area to be aerated. These disks are connected by self-sinking hoses connected to an air compressor. Air is then pumped through the system creating an abundance of bubbles that rise and create laminar flow, providing oxygenation to the bottom of the water column where dissolved oxygen is typically the lowest. This project is taking place in the waterway between Christie Drive and Lucerne Way.
We will also have many different projects this year that will support our overall AIS Integrated Management Plan. These projects will include: conducting hydro-acoustic mapping of our lagoons on a two week basis, monthly water data collection, algae monitoring, annual plant survey at the beginning of July, bottom barriers and weekly monitoring of the boat backup station. All of our past, current and future project information along with our latest updates can be found at www.keysweedsmanagement.org. I will update the members as the season goes on or if there are any changes to our AIS Program.
Our plan is to post the harvesting schedule every other Friday, which will be for the following two weeks. We will post this schedule via the TKPOA website www.tkpoa.com and TKPOA Staff will also send out an email blast that includes those TKPOA members that have submitted valid email addresses.
All of the harvesting and maintenance tasks will take place during our summer season (June – October), Monday through Friday from approximately 7:30AM to 4:30 PM. We will conduct fragment control operations seven days a week with our Omni-Cat skimmer boat.