Invasive satin moths threatening Tahoe’s aspen

White Satin Moths are defoliated Tahoe’s aspens. | Courtesy Nevada Resource Team

Visitors and residents may notice that aspen trees have been defoliated in the Carson Range on Tahoe’s East Shores due to an influx of invasive white satin moths (Leucoma salicis). The white satin moth is a non-native defoliator of aspen, cottonwoods, willows and other deciduous species. Continued defoliation can threaten aspen stands, which provide important habitat for a variety of native species.

The Nevada Tahoe Resource Team, which consists of representatives from several divisions within the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (the Nevada Division of Forestry, the Nevada Division of State Parks and the Nevada Division of State Lands) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife recently engaged the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science to perform in-depth research studies and data analysis.

Supported by the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team, the multidisciplinary experts from the University of Nevada, Reno and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science are conducting two multiyear studies that will be used to guide future management decisions in support of a thriving natural environment.

“The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is committed to protecting, restoring, and enhancing the health of Nevada’s diverse landscapes,” said Brad Crowell, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in a press release. “Lake Tahoe is an iconic natural wonder, and together with our partners, we will continue protecting Lake Tahoe from threats to the Lake ecosystem for the benefit of all Nevadans and visitors to our great state using cutting-edge science and environmental management practices.”

If you see white satin moths or areas damaged by these insects, call (775) 849-2500, ext. 241. This will provide valuable information for tracking and monitoring purposes.

For more information, visit forestry.nv.gov.