Protecting and Caring for Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe and Truckee offer homeowners an opportunity to enjoy a peaceful retreat within a mountain setting of alpine lakes and surrounding forests. Along with this comes the responsibility to protect the clarity of our lakes and to minimize fire danger. If you are considering buying a home in this area, below you will find information about required boat inspections and the areas requirements on maintaining defensible space around your home.

Mandatory Boat Inspections

In an effort to preserve the clarity of our alpine lakes and to minimize the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) all boats require mandatory inspections prior to launching into Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe. Some of the smaller lakes such as Stampede, Boca, Prosser, Jackson Meadows Reservoirs and Lake of the Woods require self inspection and the completion of forms prior to launching.

Watercraft are the largest source for spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) into new waterways. Mandatory inspections stop aquatic invasive species, such as quagga mussels, before they enter the water. Please do your part to protect Lake Tahoe and plan ahead for mandatory boat inspections. Invasive species have devastating environmental and economic impacts on industries, communities, and native species populations. Most invasive species do not have predators to keep their populations in balance and, once introduced, are difficult if not impossible to eradicate.

Inspection Stations:

The Truckee Inspection Station is located off Highway 267 and Truckee Airport Rd on Chandelle Way and is open 7 days a week from 8:30am to 5:30pm.

Alpine Watercraft Inspection Station is located off Highway 89 and Alpine Meadows Road and is open 7 days a week from 8:30am to 5:30pm.

The annual inspection fees remain unchanged from last year. The “Tahoe In & Out” inspection ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The “Tahoe Only” inspection sticker is $30. If your vessel is not Clean, Drained, and Dry, decontaminations are available for $35. There is an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags.

Lake Tahoe's Defensible Space Program

Defensible space is the practice of removing brush and flammable materials between a house and the threat of any oncoming wildfire. Because vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat, homes can be protected from threat. Another important component to creating effective defensible space is to ensure the built environment as well as the noncombustible area of your home is free of fire hazards.

You can follow these steps to ensure you minimize any fire threat.

Step 1- Know Your Distance
The recommended distance of defensible space is different for all homes. The types of vegetation and terrain are key factors when deciding how far out to extend the Defensible Space Zone. Most properties need 100-200 feet of defensible space.

Step 2- Remove the Dead
Within the Defensible Space Zone, remove all dead vegetation including dying trees, shrubs, grass, weeds, fallen branches, thick accumulations of needles and leaves, etc. Remove fallen needles and leaves within 30 feet from the house every spring, and don’t allow a depth of more than 3 inches of depth beyond 30 feet from the house.

Step 3- Create Separation
Areas of dense vegetation pose significant wildfire threats. Thin dense tree and shrub stands to allow for more separation between continuous fuels.

Step 4- Remove Ladder Fuels
Vegetation allowing fire to climb up from the forest floor to the canopy, are known as ladder fuels. Smaller vegetation such as shrubs and young trees should be cleared away from beneath larger trees.

Step 5- Lean, Clean, and Green
Within 30 feet of your home, remove fuels that ignite easily such as dead shrubs and trees, dried grass, pine needles, firewood, etc. Create a 5-foot noncombustible zone around the perimeter of your home, and keep your landscaping well-maintained.

You can use this form to request a Defensible Space Evaluation at your property.

In addition to these local ordinances, buying and selling a home at Lake Tahoe will require that you abide by sewer inspections, BMPs, shoreline reviews, woodstove and other requirements. It is important to work with a realtor who is knowledgeable about all of Lake Tahoe and Truckee’s

ordinances. Contact me today and I will ensure that your buying and selling experience is stress free!