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Two states battle Lake Tahoe infestation

California and Nevada mount a counterattack against invasive nonnative clams.

August 21, 2009|Associated Press

California and Nevada agreed Thursday to jointly mount a counterattack against invasive species that pose an increasing threat to Lake Tahoe's azure waters.

California Secretary of Natural Resources Mike Chrisman and Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons signed the agreement during an environmental summit that annually brings together scientists, politicians, federal land managers and conservationists to get updates on the condition of the lake and new potential sources of harm to its famed clarity.

"Those of us in the political arena come from many different political points of view, but we come together when we talk about Lake Tahoe," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

"That little line that goes down the middle of the lake between our two states is not a line that divides us. It is a line that joins us," said Gibbons, a Republican.

Although catastrophic wildfires, air pollution and erosion continue to pose threats to the lake, new research shows a major infestation of nonnative Asian clams could cause even more trouble.

The dime-sized clams are believed to be linked to a major algae bloom last summer, and experts said they could help other invaders, quagga and zebra mussels, successfully establish themselves at the lake.

Densities of clam beds have increased dramatically since their discovery in 2002.

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