The algae “didymo” has found its way to Connecticut waterways for the first time. The invasive species has been confirmed in the West Branch of the Farmington River.
The Department of Environmental Protection says fishermen reported the possible presence earlier this month, and provided a sample which now has been confirmed as didymo, known popularly as “rock snot.” Deputy DEP Commissioner Susan Frechette called it a troubling find.
The single-cell organisms attach themselves to the rocky bottoms of river and streams, leaving a gray, white or brown cotton-ey cover which has the potential to smother aquatic plants, insects and mollusks, and can affect fish habitat and the food chain.
Mats of didymo also reduce scenic appeal of waterways.
Authorities say once it’s in a river or stream, there’s no practical way to get it out. Because the Farmington is a popular river for recreation, they’re trying to stop people who use the river from spreading it.
The microscopic cells are spread by fishing gear, boots and waders or on boats. The DEP says anyone who uses the river should remove all obvious clumps of plant material , soak or scrub boats or other hard items with very hot water and two per cent bleach or five per cent dishwashing solution, or wait an additional 48 hours after clothing or gear is completely dry before using it in any other waterway.
To report possible sightings of didymo and other aquatic nuisance species can contact DEP’s Inland Fisheries Division at 860-424-3474.
The DEP also suggests the Biosecurity New Zealand web site for detailed information.
Click below to hear Environmental Analyst Bill Foreman with the DEP’s Inland Fisheries Division talk about how anglers and boaters can help prevent the spread of didymo.