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I could hear the eerie note and then Rod Serling spoke to me about the salad menace

I was after some jaw-dropping account of ecological hideousness counter to what we’d been taught, before I realized that the interesting part was unsubstantiated and therefore best left untouched …

But in the doing, stumbled across an interesting narrative from 2010 on research done on boats and their likelihood of carrying unwelcome goober from one water body to another.

Us wading fishermen would love to find out someone else was to blame for the foreign yummy we’re tracking through our usual haunts, and while our boating brethren are next on the suspect list, we still don’t know whether they’ve eclipsed us in the volume of pure toxins they’re carrying, versus Martians, Venusians, and other unwelcome life forms.

boat_stats

-via Paul Smith’s College, the College of the Adirondacks

What’s interesting in the 4.5MB PDF is their graphs and findings of the life forms brought to the lakes, as well as those found on the boat as they’re about to leave the host lake (some of the lakes in the study were infected by invasives).

Stewards removed 598 organisms from boats entering or leaving boat ramps, for a 6.8% infestation rate over all seven sites, and all watercraft types

Six point eight percent of boaters potentially carrying the Nasty might hold up well against us wading anglers, as we won’t sit still long enough for the obligatory cavity search …

… and while stories of animal pests like zebra mussels are common, what we don’t know (and our conservation organizations curiously fail to mention) is that many of the plant invasives can rehydrate from dry fibers on boots and waders, regardless of how long they’ve been clean, dried, and protected in your garage …

Even better, is that the act of “Clean , Dry & Protect” is breeding the killer “Super-Strain” of rehydrating vegetable via natural selection …

If there is variability within Eurasian watermilfoil populations for tolerance to desiccation, then fragments that ultimately are successful in colonizing new lakes that are transported via watercraft will be those that can withstand desiccation. It seems that long distance transport of milfoil strands could create a strong selection pressure against fragments of plants that are not tolerant to desiccation, potentially resulting in substantially increased desiccation tolerance in subsequently colonized lakes.

Next they’ll be climbing out of the mud in search of your wife … (which might be okay …)

Why all of this is important, is that issues with foreign plants appear to be quickly eclipsing pest animals, the exception being Asian Carp, and those of us enduring vegetable exposure might be forced to purchase more boots and more waders, as materials and what sticks to what may well be last year’s guess, since modified.

Interesting bit of research, by no means the final word on the topic, but the only one I’ve seen that’s credible. Worth the read.

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