Of all the invasive organisms threatening the North Country, there is probably none more destructive — or disgusting for that matter — than the didymo algae.
Anglers generally know the nuisance organism as ‘rock snot.’
It was discovered in 2007 in the Batten Kill in Washington County. Now, state DEC officials say algae has been confirmed in Kayaderosseras Creek in Saratoga County.
The Kayaderosseras Creek is a celebrated trout stream and the downstream sections are popular for kayaking and canoeing. It flows 35 miles from its source just inside the Adirondack Park to its mouth on the northwest shore of Saratoga Lake. The creek has numerous miles of public fishing rights along its banks, and a number of fishing access sites and boat-canoe-kayak access sites.
State officials say there are no known methods for eradicating rock snot once it infests a creek or river. The best hope is to avoid spreading the algae by cleaning boots, creels and other angler gear before moving from one fishing hole to the next.
The microscopic alga cling unseen to waders, boots, boats, paddles, clothing and fishing gear, and remain viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions. Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and tubers can all unknowingly spread didymo. Felt-soled waders and wading shoes have been identified as one of the most likely means of spreading didymo. Rubber or studded soles are now readily available that provide similar traction, and are much less likely to transport this and other aquatic invasive species.
DEC urges anglers, paddlers and anyone who enjoys water recreation to use the Check, Clean and Dry method to prevent the further 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 – Soak and scrub all items for at least one minute in either hot water (140 degrees F), a two percent solution of household bleach, or a five percent solution of salt, antiseptic hand cleaner or dishwashing detergent. Be sure that the solution completely penetrates thick absorbent items such as felt soled waders and wading boots.
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. 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.