E-Alert: Spiny Waterflea in Champlain CANAL
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E-ALERT - July 11, 2012
SPINY WATERFLEA confirmed in Champlain Canal and Glens Falls Canal

Boaters, anglers, urged to TAKE PRECAUTIONS

The spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive zooplankton species, has been confirmed as present in the Champlain Canal and the Glens Falls Feeder Canal, according to a New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation statement issued yesterday.
Thanks to monitoring efforts the invasive species was discovered while its numbers are still low.
Two individual spiny water fleas were identified in a water sample taken north of Lock 9 in the Champlain Canal and three specimens were identified in a water sample taken from the western end of the Glens Falls Feeder Canals. The samples were collected on June 12 as part of the Lake Champlain Long-term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project. The identification of the spiny water flea was confirmed at the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Lake Champlain Long-term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project is a cooperative effort by NYSDEC and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation with funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. SUNY Plattsburgh conducts field monitoring activities for the NYDEC.  The monitoring program recently expanded its sampling efforts into the Champlain Canal and the Glens Falls Feeder Canal. The expansion of the project aided the early detection of this invasive species.
The Lake Champlain Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response Task Force, which includes representatives from NYSDEC, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Adirondack Park Agency, Quebec Ministry of Environment and Lake Champlain Basin Program is currently assessing the potential impacts from this potential invasion and evaluating management options.
Monitoring and sampling efforts have been increased to determine the extent of the current distribution of spiny water flea.  Additional sampling will be collected in the South Lake near Whitehall, NY.  Also additional sampling will be conducted in the Champlain Canal between Locks 12 and 11 just above where the canal enters the lake.
Background on Spiny Waterflea
Spiny-waterfleas_CourtesyDNR-MassachusettsNative to Eurasia, the spiny water flea feeds on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton that are foods for fish and other native aquatic organisms, putting them in direct competition for this important food source. The tail spines of the spiny water flea hook on fishing lines and foul fishing gear.

(Picture at left courtesy of Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.)
Spiny water fleas can have a huge impact on aquatic life in lakes and ponds due to their rapid reproduction rates. In warmer water temperatures these water fleas can hatch, grow to maturity, and lay eggs in as little as two weeks. Contrarily, "resting" eggs of spiny water fleas can remain dormant for long periods of time prior to hatching.
It was previously confirmed in the Great Sacandaga Lake in 2008, Peck Lake in 2009, Stewarts Bridge Reservoir 2010 and Sacandaga Lake 2010. Most of these waters flow into the Hudson River which is a source of water for the Glens Falls Feeder Canal which, in turn, feeds the Champlain Canal.

SpinyWaterflea_courtesyMinnesotaSeaGrantWhile it is not clear when or how the spiny water flea was introduced into the lakes, it is most probable that the initial introduction, and very likely the others as well, were through adult, larvae, or eggs being transported to the waters by bait bucket, bilge water, live well, boat, canoe, kayak, trailer or fishing equipment.

The picture at right, courtesy of Minnesota Sea Grant, shows a clump of waterfleas on a fishing line.  Each individual spiny waterflea can be up to 1/2 inch in size, over 10 times larger than native waterfleas, according to the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.
Currently, there are no successful means to control or eradicate this and many other aquatic invasive species, so preventing their spread is only means for reducing their impacts on native aquatic communities. It is very important that boats, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species, particularly after leaving  water known to have an aquatic invasive species.

To help protect Lake George and stop the spread of invasive species, follow these guidelines:

After boating, before you leave the launch:

Remove all visible plants, animals, fish, and mud from your boat, trailer, or other equipment and dispose of in a suitable trash container or on dry land.

Drain water from bilge, live wells, ballast tanks, and any other locations with water before leaving the launch.

Before you arrive at the launch to go boating:

Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely.  Drying times vary depending on the weather and the type of material.   At least five days of drying time is generally recommended during the summer.

If you want to use your boat sooner, follow additional steps to make sure it is decontaminated from any hitchhikers.

See the DEC website for more information on invasive species and how you can stop their spread:http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/265.html
USGS Spiny Water Flea Fact Sheet: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=162

clean drain dry flyer for web-1 2CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY... read about this new campaign on a new website designed for boaters visiting Lake George.  Please help us distribute the STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS flyer

All boaters are urged to follow a “CLEAN, DRAIN & DRY” practice prior to launch, advocated by the LGA, local marina owners, the Eastern New York Marine Trades Association, the Lake George Park Commission, the Darrin Fresh Water Institute, and the Fund for Lake George. The new 2-page informational flyer produced by the LGA, entitled Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers, is available for download from the LGA’s website, and it is our hope that area hotels, marinas, and other tourist destinations will help us distribute it.

GIVE yourself, your friends & your family the GIFT that GIVES to the LAKE:
  a membership to the LGA.

Lake George Association
PO Box 408, Lake George, NY 12845


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Lake George Association, Inc.
PO Box 408
Lake George, New York 12845-0408

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