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Divers Placing Tarp on Lake Tahoe Floor to Combat Invasive Clams

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(Lake Tahoe, CA)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

By: Emily Green

The dime-sized creatures are causing so much algae growth that some areas of the lake have changed from pristine blue to green.

The clams started appearing around 2002. Since that time, they reached population densities as high as 5,000 per square yard. Geoffrey Schladow is director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. He says the rubber tarp will cover an acre, and should kill roughly four million Asian clams.
Schladow: “What the mats do is deprive the clams and all living organisms under them of oxygen. So within a period of about a day and a half, oxygen drops to zero and then it takes about a month for the clams to actually succumb.”
Schladow says the clams may have come to Tahoe as people dumped the contents of their home aquariums into the lake. Now, the hope is the rubber mats will kill the Asian clams, and allow native species to repopulate Lake Tahoe quickly.
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