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Algae Known As Rock Snot Found In WNY Creek

DEC Seeks Help From Anglers In Preventing Spread

Posted By VanOtisco, last year

DEC recently confirmed the presence of a non-native invasive algae commonly referred to as "Rock Snot" in Clear Creek spanning Cattaraugus and Wyoming counties. The invasive algae didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) was discovered by an angler on Clear Creek at Jones Road.

According to DEC, didymo can produce large amounts of stalk material that form thick mats on stream bottoms. During blooms, these mats may completely cover long stretches of stream beds. Its growth can alter stream conditions, choking out many of the organisms that live on the stream bottom. The resulting disturbance to the stream's food chain can negatively impact trout and other fish populations.

Once introduced, it’s easy for this algae to spread to nearby streams. Kayakers, canoeists, boaters, jet skiers, and wading anglers can easily spread it, particularly if they move from one waterway to another in a single day.

Image by David Perez used under creative commons licensing
image may be cropped differently than the original

DEC is asking for all anglers and boaters to help prevent the spread of this algae by taking the following precautions:

  • Check - Before leaving a river or stream, remove all obvious clumps of algae and look for hidden clumps. Leave them at the affected site. If you find any later, do not wash them down drains; dispose all material in the trash.

  • Clean - Treatment varies depending on what needs to be cleaned. Be sure that the solution completely penetrates thick absorbent items such as felt-soled waders and wading boots. Felt-soles, due to their ability to absorb didymo cells and to stay damp for prolonged periods of time, are a major vector in spreading didymo and require special treatment (prolonged soaking in disinfectant).

  • Dry - If cleaning is not practical, after the item is completely dry to the touch, wait an additional 48 hours before contact or use in any other waterway. Check thick, absorbent items closely to assure that they are dry throughout. Equipment and gear can also be placed in a freezer until all moisture is frozen solid. NOTE: If cleaning, drying or freezing is not practical, restrict equipment to a single water body.


Other waterways already known to have the presence of didymo, include:

  •     Batten Kill and one tributary (Washington County)

  •     Kayderosserras Creek (Saratoga County)

  •     East Branch Delaware River below Pepacton Reservoir (Delaware County)

  •     West Branch Delaware River below Cannonsville Reservoir (Delaware County)

  •     West Branch Delaware River below Delhi to Cannonsville Reservoir (Delaware County)

  •     Mainstem Delaware River (Delaware and Sullivan Counties)

  •     Mouth of Little Delaware River (Delaware County)

  •     Esopus Creek downstream of the Shandaken Portal (Ulster County)

  •     West Branch Croton River (Westchester County)


DEC will continue to monitor Clear creek and asks those who enjoy the waterway to report any suspected didymo sightings. For more information on  didymo, visit the DEC website.

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