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For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Maureen Wren
Thursday, October 4, 2007 (518) 402-8000
DEC: ADDITIONAL DISCOVERIES OF DIDYMO IN FAMED NYS FISHING RIVERS
Confirms Presence of the Aquatic Nuisance Algae in the
East Branch of the Delaware River, Suspected in the West Branch
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) today announced the presence of the invasive algae didymo
(Didymosphenia geminata) in two additional fishing water bodies in New
Samples taken by DEC have confirmed that didymo is present in
the East Branch of the Delaware River. In addition, based on samples
taken near the Route 191 bridge in Hancock, Delaware County, didymo is
suspected to be present on the West Branch of the Delaware River as
well. These are the latest recorded incidents of this aquatic nuisance
species - also called “rock snot” - in New York State. Early this
summer, didymo’s presence was confirmed in a section of the Batten
Kill in Washington County.
The Delaware tailwaters are one of the premier trout fisheries
on the East Coast, and are a popular destination for large numbers of
anglers. The discovery of didymo in these waters is particularly
troubling given their proximity to other famous trout streams, notably
the Beaver Kill and Willowemoc Creek, and the tendency of anglers to
fish multiple streams over the course of a day or weekend. The
microscopic algae - an invasive species to New York - can survive for
many days in cool, damp conditions. Porous materials such as neoprene
waders and felt soles used by wading anglers are prime suspects in the
spread of didymo among streams.
Didymo cells can produce large amounts of stalk material that
forms thick mats on stream bottoms. The appearance of these mats has
been compared to brown shag carpet, fiberglass insulation, or tissue
paper (picture can be seen at
http://www.dec.ny.gov/environmentdec/36890.html ). During blooms
these mats may completely cover long stretches of stream beds and
persist for months. The stalk material produced by didymo is slow to
break down and may persist for up to two months following its peak
growth. These mats alter stream conditions, choking out many of the
organisms that live on the stream bottom, potentially causing a ripple
effect up the food chain affecting trout and other fish.
Didymo has historically been limited to cold, nutrient-poor,
northern waters, but in recent decades has been expanding its range and
its tolerance to warmer and more productive streams. Once introduced to
an area, didymo can rapidly spread to nearby streams. Anglers,
kayakers, canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread
didymo by transporting the cells on boats and other gear. There are
currently no known methods for controlling or eradicating didymo once it
infests a water body.
Anglers, canoeists, kayakers, boaters, or others who witness and
suspect the presence of didymo in state waters are advised to contact
DEC with the location so that samples can be taken to document and
monitor the algae’s spread. DEC continues to urge anglers and other
water recreationists to Check, Clean and Dry to prevent the introduction
and spread of didymo.
Check -- Before leaving a river or stream, remove all obvious
clumps of algae and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the affected
site. If you find any later, do not wash them down drains; dispose all
material in the trash.
Clean -- Treatment varies depending on what needs to be cleaned.
Be sure that the solution completely penetrates thick absorbent items
such as felt-soled waders and wading boots.
· Non-absorbent items
o Detergent or salt: soak or spray all surfaces for at least one
minute in a 5% solution (by volume) of dishwashing detergent or salt (7
ounces of detergent or salt added to water to make one gallon); or
o Bleach: soak or spray all surfaces for at least one minute in a
2% solution (by volume) of household bleach (3 ounces of bleach added to
water to make one gallon); or
o Hot water: soak for at least one minute in very hot water kept
above 140 °F (hotter than most tap water) or for at least 20 minutes or
in hot water kept above 115 °F (uncomfortable to touch).
· Absorbent items require longer soaking times. For example,
felt-soled waders require:
o Hot water: soak for at least 40 minutes in hot water kept above
115 °F; or
o Hot water plus detergent: soak for 30 minutes in hot water kept
above 115 °F containing 5% dishwashing detergent.
Dry - If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely
dry to the touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in
any other waterway. Check thick absorbent items closely to assure that
they are dry throughout. Equipment and gear can also be placed in a
freezer until all moisture is frozen solid.
NOTE: If cleaning, drying or freezing is not practical, restrict
equipment to a single water body.
While DEC recommends anglers always take these precautions, it
is especially important that any gear used out of state be treated
before using in New York waters.