Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rock Snot On the Move...

Unfortunately, a new and significant invasive alien species has invaded the Delaware River Basin in NY. Click on the hypertext below for a pic. Mind you, this will in no way be as insidious as the prime invasive alien species threat. That would be Bush. Nasty shrub.

Didymo found in trout streams

Saturday, September 29, 2007
By David Figura, Outdoors editor
Syracuse Post-Standard

The presence of didymo, an invasive plant species commonly called "rock snot" by anglers, has been confirmed this week in two well-known trout streams in the Catskills.

Steve Lorence, fisheries manager of the DEC office in Delaware County, said sampling by aquatic biologists has confirmed the presence of the slimy brown-colored plant on at least five sections of the West Branch of the Delaware River, including the confluence with the Beaverkill. In addition, it's been found near the Route 191 bridge in Deposit on the West Branch of the Delaware River.

Unlike many aquatic nuisance plants, didymo or Didymosphenia geminata, grows on the bottom of flowing and still waters. It can develop thick mats even in fast-flowing trout streams. In its presence, fishing becomes difficult, the abundance of bottom-dwelling organisms declines, and trout and other fish that feed on those organisms also decline. It resembles rotting cardboard when it dries and rots.

Its presence in the Catskills, often touted as one of the premier trout-fishing areas of the state, could mean trouble for an area where millions of dollars in tourism related to fishing is spent each year. The microscopic algae cling unseen to waders, boots, boats, lures, hooks, sinkers, fishing line and other fishing gear, and remain viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions, according to the DEC.

Absorbent items - for example, the felt-soled waders and wading boots commonly used by stream anglers - can easily spread it. Canoeists and kayakers can also unknowingly contribute to its spread.

Lorence said the Beaverkill, a legendary trout stream, has not been tested yet as workers taking samples in the East Branch of the Delaware did not want to risk spreading the organism into that stream after wading in the other stream.

"Anyone who walks in the East Branch, and then the Beaverkill, could spread it," Lorence said.