Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Troubled Waters

Perhaps it was only a matter of time, but troubling news reverberated throughout the local angling community last week. An invasive type of algae, Didymosphenia geminata (a.k.a.didymo) was positively identified in the fabled West Branch Farmington River. This is the first confirmed report of didymo in Connecticut waters, but it has been plaguing trout streams in the Northeast since 2007. This junk has earned the nickname 'rock snot' because when it blooms, it can form thick mats of brown gooey material that coats the stream bottom and could potentially smother aquatic insects and plant life. The CT DEP admitted today that, once didymo has spread, there’s no practical way to remove it from a river. What we can do for now is try to contain it and that requires public education. Time will tell what happens with this stuff in the Farmington, but at least we can all do our best to help keep it from spreading to other Connecticut trout streams.

An extreme example of what didymo can do to a trout stream
(Photo credit: Biosecurity New Zealand)

The following paragraphs were cut and pasted from an official DEP press release this morning:

Humans are the primary vector responsible for the recent spread of didymo. Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo. The microscopic cells can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions. To prevent the spread of didymo to additional waters, DEP asks that anglers, especially those who also fish the Farmington River or streams outside Connecticut, and other users practice CHECK, CLEAN, DRY procedures.

•CHECK: Before leaving a river, stream or lake, remove all obvious clumps of algae and plant material from fishing gear, waders, clothing & footwear, canoes & kayaks, and anything else that has been in the water and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the site. If you find any later, clean your gear and dispose of all material in the trash.

• CLEAN: Soak/spray & scrub boats and all other “hard” items for at least one minute in either very hot (140°F) water, a 2% bleach solution, or a 5% dishwashing detergent solution. Absorbent materials such as clothes and felt soles on waders should be soaked for at least 40 minutes in very hot water (140°F), or 30 minutes in hot water (115°F) with 5% dishwashing detergent. Freezing thoroughly will also kill didymo.

• DRY: If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any other waterway.

1 comment:

  1. Kierran: Thanks for being the bell-weather! Keep up the good work