rock snot, rock snot in Vermont, Vermont rock snot
Toby Talbot, File/AP
Mary Russ, executive director of the White River Partnership, holds a rock covered with didymo,
rock snot, in the White River in Stockbridge, Vt. (AP)

Rock Snot Threatens New England Streams

January 15, 2009 09:03 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
Native to Asia and Europe, an invasive form of algae known as rock snot is spreading in Vermont, posing a potentially devastating threat to New England trout fishing.

An Ugly Problem

The Burlington Free Press reports that Didymosphenia geminata, a species of invasive aquatic algae, also known as rock snot or didymo, has spread further into Vermont’s waters. The species has already wrought havoc on rivers in Tennessee and Arkansas, but did not show up in Northeastern water until 2007.

According to The New York Times, rock snot has been on the radar of Northeastern officials since August 2007 when it was discovered in Vermont’s Connecticut River. Didymo can grow into expansive mats capable of smothering food sources for trout and other species, particularly in Vermont’s warm, nutrient-rich waters. Rock snot is native to Asia and Europe, where “colder, higher altitude streams” limit its growth.

Didymo is also detrimental to river and stream aesthetics, “with reports of unsightly masses that appear like strands of toilet paper,” reports Green Mountain Troutfitters.

The Maryland Invasive Species Council recommends cleaning all dirt off of fishing gear and other watercraft. Didymo can be killed by “scrubbing with hot soapy water, wiping down with disinfectant and freezing,” advises the Council.

Related Topic: Quagga mussels

Reference: Didymo basics


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