Asian clams are small-non-native bivalves that first appeared in Lake Tahoe in 2002. In the lake, they bury themselves into the sandy bottom sediments and are often hidden from view.

Size Reference

Asian Clams in Emerald Bay

Low densities of non-native Asian clams were discovered on the sandy sill entrance of Emerald Bay in 2010. Asian clams compete with native species for resources and can have a negative impact on water quality. In fall of 2012, 5 acres of rubber bottom barriers were placed over the clam beds to reduce/exterminate the clams and prevent them from moving further into the bay. UC Davis and University of Nevada, Reno researchers have been monitoring the effectiveness of the barriers bi-monthly for calm mortality, changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations under the barriers and impacts on native aquatic invertebrates. The barriers are scheduled to be removed in fall of 2014.


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

Funding Sources:

  • Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA)
  • Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board

An underwater view of bottom barriers being installed over beds of non-native Asian clams on the sill of Emerald Bay. These barriers will prevent clams access to oxygenated water and food.

Bottom Barrier Project