AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection have partnered with Fly Fishing in Maine (FFIM), a group dedicated to protecting Maine's fisheries, to place three washing stations at popular Maine fisheries in an attempt to prevent the spreading of "didymo" -- an invasive species of algae -- to Maine's rivers.
Two of the sites are on the Rapid River in western Maine, and the third is at the Route 35 bridge in Windham on the Presumpscot River.
"Perhaps the most serious threat to Maine's fragile aquatic natural resources is the introduction of invasive fish, plants or other organisms. It's imperative that we make every effort to prevent these intoductions from occurring," says John Boland, Fisheries Division Director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Fly Fishing in Maine deserves credit for facilitating this effort."
"Didymo" – Didymosphenia geminata and commonly called "rock snot" – is a type of algae known as a diatom. The single-celled organism can "bloom" or spread, creating mats of brown material on rocks or riverbeds that could interfere with the life cycles of insects and fish. Presently, didymo has not been found in Maine, but it was confirmed in New York and Quebec in 2006, and in New Hampshire and Vermont in 2007. Didymo is native to far northern and mountainous reaches of the globe, but is expanding its range, commonly to waters frequented by anglers.
"There is no one answer to solving the problem but between a public education awareness program and the first of what we hope to be many public washing stations, there is a chance that we can limit the spread of this stuff," said Ken Beaulieu of Fly Fishing in Maine.
This program is made possible by a generous grant from L.L. Bean. The grant will cover the costs of building the pilot washing stations, signage and the washing solution. Other partners in this effort include landowners, the Maine Department of Transportation (Presumpcot River site), Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust (Rapid River-Lower Dam), and Nextera Energy (formerly Florida Power and Light) (Rapid River-Middle Dam).
The stations will be maintained by volunteer "station keepers" who will monitor the stations and refresh them with a 5% salt-based solution. To be effective, anglers will need to remove plant and other debris from boots and then soak their boots, nets and other gear for 3 minutes before proceeding into and when exiting the water, according to John McPhedran, a land and water quality biologist at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Anglers also are asked to clean equipment again at home and then dry completely, ideally for 48 hours.
"This is a reasonable start to ensuring that anglers are not contributing to the spread of didymo into Maine's waters," Boland said.
For more information on Fly Fishing in Maine, visit its website at www.flyfishinginmaine.org.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|