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Researchers press for long-term studies

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POSTED August 12, 2013 1:25 a.m.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP) — Scientists studying invasive species at Lake Tahoe are looking forward to a chance to press for more long-term research when Al Gore returns to an environmental summit next weekend that he helped kick off 17 years ago to combat threats to the azure lake’s clarity.

Researchers at the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Reno, manned an electro-shocking boat on the lake this past week, sending electric current through the water near Tahoe Keys to flush some of the unwelcome aquatic life from their hiding places among the reeds and algae.

Over the past three years, they’ve removed more than 30,000 invasive fish from the lake as part of a broader effort to find ways to minimize their harm to native species and the quality of the lake itself. The targets include smallmouth bass, blue gill, catfish and clams.

“What we’re trying to do is find out if there’s a way we can control the population and make recommendations for how to manage invasive species,” UNR researcher Christine Ryan told the Tahoe Daily Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/lsluxaq) as she netted the fish from the bow of the boat and dropped them in a tank.

UNR researcher Annie Caires is doing similar work with invasive Asian clams. She said the problem with the current studies is they only have snapshots of data from the past to compare their results to.

“What we hope for in the future is longer-term data so we know how the lake is changing,” Caires said. “What we would really like to see is a continuation of this data series.”

Some of the work has its roots in the first Tahoe Summit that then-President Clinton and Vice President Gore hosted at Sand Harbor State Park in 1997.

Gore is scheduled to make the keynote speech at the 17th annual event on Aug. 19 at the same park.

DRI spokesman Justin Broglio said they’re looking forward to the attention he’s expected to help bring to the ongoing research efforts.

“The summit makes people more aware of the research that’s going on at the lake,” he said.

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