TERC Clam Barrier Installation.

A call to arms was issued Friday, and was answered by scientists as well as federal, state and regional volunteers to help stamp out an invasive species of clams which are threatening to slime one of the most pristine lakes in the world.

A $1.4 Million experiment was cooked up by top researchers from the University of Nevada, Davis and the University of California, to help eradicate hundreds of thousands of these invading clams in Lake Tahoe. These are non-Native Asian clams (Corbicula Fluminea) which excrete concentrates into the water which promote algal growth.

The plan is to basically to smother them, they will be utilizing giant rubber mats, to try and ensure that these little invaders don’t have a chance to upset the delicate balance of the lake. These rubber mats are going to cover an astonishing acre of lake bottom, an operation of this scale has never been attempted before, but the situation calls for drastic action. The first half acre of mat was splashed down into the Marla Bay near Zephyr Cove, and the other half acre will be plunked down at Tahoe’s Lakeside Marina. It is hoped that the mats will deprive much needed oxygen from the clams, and they will die off quickly. “You have to think of these clams as sucking factories,” explained the director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Geoffrey Scladow, “They suck in the water and they filter out the algae. Their excretions are highly concentrated packages of nutrients.”

This invasive species of clam was first discovered in 2002, however it is only recently that they have been taken seriously as a threat to the ecology of the lake, as well as it’s world renowned clarity.