Rock Snot merely “visually unpleasant”

Didymo_MotherConnecticut officials side with US Fish & Wildlife scientists in the belief that the once fearsome Didymo, or Rock Snot as it’s more commonly known, is largely harmless to both insect populations and fish in infested streams.

It’s a win for the fish regardless of whether you believed rubber soles exonerate us of all sins or no …

Didymo has had a negative effect on water bodies in New Zealand, creating large mats on the bottoms of rivers and affecting the food chain. Although the algae has been found in the Northeast, the same effects have yet to be seen in New England, Aarrestad said.

“Colleagues [in Vermont] have assured me that the devastation was not what they’d seen on the other side of the world,” Aarrestad said. And in New Zealand, “there is no scientific evidence demonstrating negative effects on trout populations.”

*Peter Aarrestad, director of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s Inland Fisheries Division (and those are my boldings)

All of which makes the articles in the Maryland media that much more humorous. My personal favorite skipped the wading issue entirely, suggesting Didymo was spread by angler’s feet … which suggests the Missus will insist we keep our socks on while in bed.

Now all that remains is for the two groups to get their stories straight, as the US Fish & Wildlife article was written by New Zealand scientists who claim they also saw little damage to their insect populations contrary to the Connecticut excerpt, above.

It’s certain that no one wants to alter any of the watersheds visually or otherwise, but someone in the conservation community needs to alter their sensationalist fear message to match the the facts as they emerge …

For a more formal treatment of  “Didymo as potentially benign”, see the always wonderful Turning Over Small Stones .

8 thoughts on “Rock Snot merely “visually unpleasant””

  1. I’m afraid it will never clear felt soles of wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter what facts emerge and whose proven right, anglers destroy aquatic habitat if by no other means than force of numbers.

    I personally believe (and have said many times) that a ban on felt soles was premature, given that cleated rubber soles are only 50% less bad than felt (numbers confirmed by the new zealand scientists), only saving 50% contamination is not worth the squeeze.

    None of it really matters. The national park system will start spraying for land based invasives for the first time this year, part of their 1996 plan to handle invasive plants and animals. Yellowstone will be spraying in proximity to their campgrounds and picnic areas, as human traffic and cars are carrying the seeds pressed into tires and rubber soled shoes and the lint and dander of our clothing.

    I would suspect this will only end in our being banned from the water completely. I hope we’ll still be allowed to fish, but in all likelihood we’ll probably be forced to buy new shoes from the park entrance and ride to the fishing on a sterile shuttle.

    Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

  2. …in all likelihood we’ll probably be forced to buy new shoes from the park entrance…

    Kind of like a bowling alley, huh?

    In most cases, our ecosystems would be more resilient to invasion if they were more pristine. Its often a function of our presence (i.e., degraded habitat) in the first place that allows most invasions to go wrong.

    Honestly, we can’t predict the future last I checked. Banning us from “pristine” environs wont necessarily fix the often “perceived” threat associated with alien species. If we have arrived in an area, its already tainted…

  3. The National Park Service has a federal mandate to retain all domestic flora and fauna at their historic norms – hence their more aggressive response to the invasives issue. (and why they would adopt a shoe concession without hesitation)

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