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Didymo aka "Rock Snot" found in Vermont


Just finished a River Runs Through it!
This was pulled off of a guide's website in Vermont. He wouldn't write this stuff which could scare off a lot of his business if it wasn't gravely serious. I go up there about 4 times a year to visit family and plan to bring a tub for cleaning next time, and we should all probably start using a tub down here just to be on the safe side. :crap::crap::crap:

Source: Lawton

Date: 10 Jul 2007
Time: 13:15:35
Yesterdays rains have clobbered the Lamoille, Winooski, and White River watersheds big time. The big rivers and their larger tribs are blown out, but the small streams are coming clean enough to fish. The White River does indeed have Diymo, and it would be a safe bet that it is now going to show up in other rivers pretty soon since the White gets fished alot, and anglers were not aware of Didymo until the last week or so. That being said, while the rivers are muddy and blown out, what better time to get your didymo "cleaning system" organized and ready? Clean EVERYTIME after you go out, it's our only chance. Hatches consist of Sulphurs #16-20, Caddis #16-20, BWO's #20-24, Golden and Yellow Drakes #10-12, Stoneflies #6-12, and ants and beetles #12-20. Check, Clean and Dry...and good luck on the water!


Date: 09 Jul 2007
Time: 14:56:57
Well folks, here we go...I've just heard that Didymo in all liklihood has been found in the White River from Cleveland Brook downstream in Bethal. Official testing results are not yet in, But the description is spot on. At this point, I'm going to tell everyone what I'm doing to prevent myself and clients from spreading Didymo: I have a huge plastic bin on the deck, in it well over 5% dishwashing detergent/hot water solution. I top it off daily by taking a lobster pot and take a pot full of cooled down water out, and adding a pot of BOILING water, that brings my temps up plenty. I've also added so much detergent that when I put my boots (AQUASTEALTH!) on yesterday, as I walked down the road, my boots turned white with suds!! I soak my stuff for atleast 40 minutes, usually overnight. Once you're set up, it's not that tough to do. You should also dunk your butt section of your rod and reel in solution for atleast 3 minutes or so. Remember the backing and inner line can get Didymo on it too. We'll see how pro-active the state is going to be on this. My suspicions are not good however with very apathetic leadership at the Agency of Natural Resources. The prior Secretary thought of Agency policy was one of lets see how business friendly we can be without doing much to protect the environment; I'm skeptical of these new guys too. They're welcome to prove me wrong! Ok, fishing...well, the areas that needed the rain most got it bigtime today. We've gotten about .66" so far today, but the Winooski valley got slammed with inches of rain. Big blowout, so everything in that valley is stuffed. Same goes for the Lamoille too, though not near as bad. The Kingdom got away with not much so far, but we're all under the gun thru Wednesday for potential big downpours. home | Biosecurity New Zealand Hatches are the same as previous days, check, clean and dry, and good luck on the water!

And a local news article too:
State's rivers face dire threat from new invasive algae: Times Argus Online

State's rivers face dire threat from new invasive algae
Wild trout may face demise, expert says
July 11, 2007

By Dennis Jensen Rutland Herald

The Underhill fishing guide who discovered invasive fresh-water algae in the Connecticut River late last month says he believes it could mark the beginning of the end for wild trout fishing in Vermont.

Meanwhile, a second outbreak of the algae known as didymo may have been found in the White River in Bethel. Biologists last Friday took samples after a fisherman discovered what appears to be another outbreak of the environmentally destructive algae, whose formal name is Didymosphenia geminata.

Lawton Weber discovered didymo on June 21 while fly-fishing the Connecticut River with a friend off his waterfront property in Bloomfield, in the Northeast Kingdom.

"I put my raft in the water and within a hundred feet I took a look at the rocks and said, 'It's didymo. We're screwed,'" he said.

Along the river in Bloomfield, Weber said, didymo "was on almost every rock, in small patches."

Weber contacted the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department about his discovery and on Friday biologists confirmed Weber's worst suspicions: Didymo has taken hold in Vermont.

This was the first report of the so-called "rock snot" in the Northeast. In rivers that have been infested by didymo, thick mats of the invasive species form on river and stream bottoms, choking life from the waters.

Weber said he believes didymo is a greater threat to Vermont's fisheries than both milfoil and sea lampreys.

"It will cover the streambed rocks," he said. "It will destroy the aquatic insect population and in turn will destroy the wild trout population because there will be nothing to feed on."

Weber said he has reports from fellow trout fishermen that didymo has been found as far north on the river as Canaan, the Vermont town that borders Canada.

Weber, who operates Pleasant Valley Fly Fishing Guides, said he suspects that didymo will be found all the way down the Connecticut River watershed.Vt., N.H. biologists to meet

Eric Palmer, director of fisheries for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said his staff is taking the threat of didymo very seriously.

"Based on what's happened elsewhere, we have reasons to be concerned, not only because of the impact it could have to the Connecticut River but also because of how easily it can move to other rivers," he said.

Palmer said biologists from his department will meet with their counterparts from New Hampshire to discuss how to jointly deal with the problem.

"I think that, whenever we're dealing with a new, invasive species, we really have to be on guard because we don't know how the invasive species will act," he said.

The department will hold a meeting Friday to discuss a strategy for getting the word out to the public about how easily didymo can spread to other waters.

"We're going to talk about how to contain didymo and to get out and try to get a sense of where it is located already," he said. "If it's in the Connecticut and the White River, it could be in other locations as well."

Weber has some experience with didymo. The 34-year-old guide spends winters fishing in New Zealand. Didymo, Weber said, has spread through rivers in New Zealand for the past four years.

According to the New Zealand government's Web site, a single cell of didymo is microscopic. It takes a number of cells to be present in the water before didymo is visible to the naked eye.

"Didymo attaches itself to the streambed by stalks. These stalks form a thick brown mat that smothers rocks, submerged plants and other materials. Established mats form flowing streamers that can turn white at their ends and look similar to tissue paper," according to the site.

Didymo was identified by biologists in the 1890s in Scotland, Sweden, Finland and the Kanchou Region of China.

Meanwhile, biologists are testing samples, strikingly similar to that of didymo, found in the White River last week.

Weber said he spoke to a biologist who described what he found. Weber believes what was discovered was another case of didymo in the White River, which flows into the Connecticut River.

"I just got word from contacts that they found it in Bethel on the White River on Friday, below Cleveland Brook," he said. "Anecdotally, from the description, it's the same thing."

Palmer confirmed Weber's report and said a sample has been taken and sent off for laboratory testing.

Vermont's trout streams, many of them pristine, are prime hosts for the invasive species.

"Didymo prefers clean, clear, moving water with low amounts of nutrients. All of Vermont's streams fit those conditions," Weber said. "It's going to spread like wildfire."

Weber said he didn't want to sound alarmist, but warned that, unless anglers, paddlers and boaters take precautions, the Connecticut River, at least the northern stretches where the water is pristine, will become a place without wild trout.

Biggest carriers

After the mats created by the didymo cover the rocks and vegetation, the river's aquatic insects will disappear, he said.

"The first thing that's going to happen is we're going to lose our aquatic insect population. It's going to collapse. As we see the insect population decline, there will be less food for trout and, with less food for trout, you're going to have less trout," Weber said.

If the spread of didymo isn't controlled, Weber said, trout fishing in Vermont could eventually become a strictly put-and-take endeavor.

"All we'll be left with is following hatchery trucks, trying to catch finless wonders," he said. "And those hatchery fish are not going to survive the whole season because there will be nothing to feed on."

Eurasian milfoil and sea lampreys are two other invasive species that has Vermont biologists have tried to control, but they pale in comparison to the threat posed by didymo, Weber said.

"This is a bigger threat than milfoil. This is bigger than lampreys," he said. "Lampreys can be treated. In terms of environmental impact, milfoil doesn't harm fish. It doesn't grow in depths of more than 15 feet. Milfoil only hurts landowners who want to swim at their beaches."

Weber said didymo has been found in rivers in the three southern states, in Quebec and in a number of states out West.

"I think it probably came to Vermont from an angler or a kayaker that, in all likelihood came from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee or Quebec," he said.

Aware of the seriousness of the threat of didymo in New Zealand, Weber said he never transported any of his fishing tackle — including boots and waders — back from Down Under. His profession is guiding trout fishermen and he has made it a point to "clean my gear every day whether it's an impacted waterway or not.

"Frankly, it scares the heck out of me because it could ruin my career as a fishing guide," Weber said.

The microscopic algae cling to fishing gear, boats, waders and boots. Weber said that anglers, in particular, should scrub their waders and boots thoroughly, with a 5 percent solution of dishwashing detergent and hot water.

Didymo can live in the felt soles of boots, in the trunk of a car, for weeks, even months, Weber said, so a thorough cleaning with soap and water is critical.

There is no known treatment for didymo infestation, Weber said.

"The only thing we can do is educate the public," he said. "We can do something to slow the spread of didymo and maybe in the future come up with a treatment. It's going to be up to boaters and anglers not to spread this, to clean their gear."

Weber said those who use the Connecticut River for boating or fishing should take precautions after each day on the water.

"Anything that comes in contact with an affected river should be cleaned, so you dunk your fly reels for five minutes in hot water with a 5 percent solution of dishwashing detergent," he said.

"The real spreader of this stuff, though, is the felt soles and the neoprene parts in your waders," Weber said. "The fabric is absorbent. You have to dunk your stuff for 30 minutes in hot water with at least a 5 percent solution of dishwashing detergent."

To prevent the introduction and spread of didymo, the government of New Zealand recommends these procedures:

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: Soak and scrub all items for at least one minute in hot (140 degrees) water, a 2 percent solution of household bleach or a 5 percent solution of salt, antiseptic hand cleaner or dishwashing detergent.

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.

Weber urged all anglers and boaters to visit the New Zealand Web site at home | Biosecurity New Zealand to better educate themselves about how to counter the threat of didymo.

Contact Dennis Jensen at dennis.jensen@rutlandherald.com