"This find is very troubling," said DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette. "Extensive blooms of this organism can harm the river ecosystem and decrease its recreational and economic value. In an effort to confirm identification, staff from DEP’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse surveyed a number of sites in the river and a major tributary along a seven mile stretch of the West Branch Farmington River in Hartland and Barkhamsted. Unfortunately numerous clumps of didymo were found at all the surveyed sites in the river downstream of the Riverton Bridge. Once didymo has spread, there’s no practical way to remove it from a river."
One of the numerous clumps of didymofound in the West Branch Farmington River.
You can read the entire press release here: http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?Q=476204&A=4013
For us in Connecticut, our states opening day of fishing is just around the corner and there will be numerous people out and about in our rivers as fishing opens up and the warmer weather continues so it is extremely important that everyone understand the issues and how to protect against the possible transportation of invasive organisms, like Didymo, to other bodies of waters. This is NOT just a fisherman's issue, but anyone that uses a body of water as these species can be transport by any of your equipment like vests, tubes, boats, shoes and even your bathing suit and your pets.
Here is what DEP suggests that you can do to help stop the spread of Didymo and other invasive specieis.
Humans are the primary vector responsible for the recent spread of didymo. Anglers, kayakers and canoeists, boaters and jet skiers can all unknowingly spread didymo. The microscopic cells can cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions. To prevent the spread of didymo to additional waters, DEP asks that anglers, especially those who also fish the Farmington River or streams outside Connecticut, and other users practice CHECK, CLEAN, DRY procedures.
- CHECK:Before leaving a river, stream or lake, remove all obvious clumps of algae and plant material from fishing gear, waders, clothing & footwear, canoes & kayaks, and anything else that has been in the water and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the site. If you find any later, clean your gear and dispose of all material in the trash.
- CLEAN:Soak/spray & scrub boats and all other "hard" items for at least one minute in either very hot (140°F) water, a 2% bleach solution, or a 5% dishwashing detergent solution. Absorbent materials such as clothes and felt soles on waders should be soaked for at least 40 minutes in very hot water (140°F), or 30 minutes in hot water (115°F) with 5% dishwashing detergent. Freezing thoroughly will also kill didymo.
- 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.The above procedures will also be effective against other unwanted organisms.
Please take the time to spread the word through your blogs, clubs, forums and friends so we can make more people aware of the potential hazards and proper methods for ensuring that they are not helping the spread of such unwanted organisms.