|Do you know about Didymo?
|Help stop Didymo before it stops your fishing, boating, swimming…
Photo - Tim Daley, PA DEP
It’s a microscopic alga
known as a diatom that’s invading our rivers and streams. Didymosphenia geminata, also known
as ‘rock snot’ or ‘didymo’, can smother entire stream beds with mats as thick as eight inches
and can ruin just about any river or creek.
does it look like?
Didymo can be found on rocks in moving water and is often mistaken for fiberglass
or toilet tissue. Unlike most other algae, didymo feels like wet cotton and isn’t slimy. It is
generally brown, tan or yellow in color.
Where is it?
Didymo has been confirmed in the East and West Branches of the Delaware
River (New York and Pennsylvania) as well as in the Delaware River mainstem as far south as Callicoon,
New York [view map] --
BUT IT CAN EASILY BE SPREAD TO ALMOST ANY STREAM
How does it spread?
Unfortunately, it appears that primary
carriers of didymo include fishing equipment and waders, boats, and just about anything else that has come in contact
with didymo-infected water.
So what can I do to help? Start by reading the rest of this
page. For more information, contact your local PA Fish and Boat Commission Waterways
Conservation Officer (or region office) or call 814-359-5129.
|Disinfect your boat, trailer, boots & other gear before
a new body of water
|Remember -- you can’t see individual didymo cells -
so thoroughly disinfect
all of your equipment
Photo - Tim Daley, PA DEP
|CHECK -- Before you leave a river, stream, or lake, check items and leave debris at site. If you
find any later, treat and put in trash. Do not wash down drains.
CLEAN -- There are several ways to kill didymo. Choose the most practical treatment for your situation
which will not adversely affect your gear.
- Detergent -- soak or spray all surfaces for at least
one minute in 5% dishwashing detergent or (2 cups (16 oz.) or 500mls with water added to make 2.5
gal. or 10 litres); OR
- Hot water -- soak for at least
one minute in very hot water kept above 140° F (60° C) (hotter than most tap water)
or for at least 20 minutes in hot water kept above 113° F (45° C) (uncomfortable
Absorbent items -- require longer soaking times to allow thorough saturation. For
- Hot water -- soak for at least 40 minutes in hot water kept above 113° F
(45° C) ; OR
- Hot water plus detergent -- soak for 30 minutes in hot water
kept above 113° F (45° C) containing 5% dishwashing detergent; OR
- Freezing any item until solid will also kill didymo.
DRY -- Drying will kill didymo, but slightly moist didymo can survive for months. To ensure didymo
cells are dead by drying, the item must be completely dry to the
touch, inside and out, then left dry for at least another 48 hours before use. If cleaning or drying
is not practical, restrict equipment to a single waterway.
NOTE: The thicker and denser the material, the better it will be at holding moisture (and live cells),
the slower it will be to dry out and the more difficult it will be to soak completely with cleaning solutions.
When cleaning equipment, we recommend that you
- soak porous materials for longer than the specified times to ensure saturation with cleaning solution
- choose a decontamination solution that will not adversely affect your equipment
- follow manufacturer’s safety instructions when using products
- dispose of cleaning waste well away from waterways
- Inspect every inch of your boat, trailer, and equipment – the hull, drive
unit, trim plates, props, anchor, centerboards, paddles, wheels, hitch, chassis, etc. – and remove aquatic
plants, animals, and mud from the boat, trailer and equipment before leaving any body of water;
- Drain any
and all water from your boat and equipment on land before leaving the area;
- Do the following when
away from direct drainage areas to lakes or rivers:
Dump any leftover
bait on land, especially if the live aquatic bait has been in contact with potentially infested waters;
live wells and bait wells, bilges, cooling systems, hulls, and decks with a 1:9 solution of household
bleach and water allowing at least 10 minutes contact time. Rinse well to remove all residual
easy recipe is a half gallon of bleach into a 5 gallon bucket then fill with water (or a quart of
bleach to a half bucket).
- Rinse your boat after use, preferably with hot water. If hot water is not
available use tap water and then allow at least five days to become completely dry before entering
a new water
- Do not transport any LIVE FISH, BAIT, OTHER CRITTERS, PLANTS, OR WATER from one body
of water to another.
|Please help stop Didymo before it stops you!