'Rock snot' invades Youghiogheny River
An invasive form of algae known as "rock snot" has aggressively spread to the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park, state officials confirmed on Monday.
The aquatic plant species, also known as didymo, is not dangerous for humans but creates a shag-carpetlike mat that can smother small organisms and disrupt the food chain, said Eric Levis, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
As a result, officials are urging boaters, fishermen and waders to take extra precautions to avoid infecting other areas of the Yough or other rivers and streams.
"We certainly don't want it," Levis said. "It gets in, it's easy to spread. We want people to take precautions because we don't want people to carry it to another waterway."
Officials during the past two months have documented didymo "blooms" in the Yough, the Delaware River in Bucks County and Dyberry Creek in Wayne County. Didymo, formally called didymosphenia geminata, was found in the Delaware River in 2007.
At Ohiopyle, Erik L. Silldorff, an aquatic biologist for the Delaware River Basin Commission, found tufts of the tan-brownish colored plants on June 1. The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia verified his sample.
"There was plenty of didymo on the rocks so I had no trouble finding material to collect, and my sample was filled with nice, healthy, living didymo. So, in terms of a risk of spread, I would say the Youghiogheny is now a potential launching pad," Silldorff said.
The Fish and Boat Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are reminding anglers and boaters that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective way to prevent spreading it to other waters. Officials recommend making sure equipment is completely dry before entering new waters, cleaning boats and equipment with hot water, or soaking equipment in hot water and dishwashing detergent.
"We may not be able to eliminate didymo from an infected waterway, but we can do our best to slow its spread," said Bob Morgan, a biologist for the Fish and Boat Commission. "Didymo cells can easily be carried downstream and can be picked up by any items or equipment contacting the infected water."
Levis said state agencies are not sure how it spread to Western Pennsylvania.
"We're not taking steps to try to eliminate it," he said. "Our main goal now is to try and stop this spread."
For more information on how to clean your gear to prevent the spread of didymo, visit http://fishandboat.com/cleanyourgear.htm.<
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers clinch playoff berth with win over Chiefs
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by to watch
- Groom cited at Farmington wedding reception being filmed for reality TV show
- Outdoor notices: Dec. 22, 2014
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Car wash explosion, fire injures 2 in McDonald
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Police investigate alleged institutional sexual assault at Pine youth treatment center
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg