Asian Clams

Research divers placing rubber barrier mats on the lake bottom

Asian Clams

Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) were first discovered along Lake Tahoe's south shore in 2002. Since the initial discovery, these non-native clams have proliferated along the southeast portion of the lake from Glenbrook to Emerald Bay, reaching densities up to 6000 clams per square meter in some locations. Asian clams are known to negatively impact native invertebrate communities, phytoplankton assemblages, benthic habitats, and nutrient cycling. In order to minimize these impacts and prevent the establishment of new populations, scientists, natural resource managers, and community stakeholders conducted numerous studies in Lake Tahoe to determine if a safe and effective treatment method could be implemented.

With funding from multiple agencies, TERC researchers explored various types of treatment and found covering clams with EDPM rubber pond liner anchored to the lake bottom to be the most efficient method for controlling new clam populations. These bottom barriers cut off clam access to dissolved oxygen in the water column. Prolonged deprivation of dissolved oxygen resulted in 100% mortality under the barrier in a matter of months. Currently this technology is being used to treat a satellite population of Asian clams found at Sand Harbor State park along Lake Tahoe's northeast shore.  


  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
  • California State Parks
  • Tahoe Resource Conservation District
  • Lahontan Water Quality Control Board
  • Nevada Division of State Lands