Forest Service asks for public's help stopping spread of invasive algae

Didymo algae

The U.S. Forest Service is asking for the public's help in stopping the spread of an invasive algae that can hurt rivers and streams.

Officials are asking for fishermen, and other Trinity River users, to clean their clothing and gear to help stop the spread of Didymo a.k.a. “Rock Snot”. They noted that Didymo is a type of invasive algae that produces thick mats that cover stream beds, making swimming, fishing and other water activities undesirable.

“People, including fishermen, are thought to be the main way that Didymo is being spread from one place to another,” explained botanist Lusetta Sims. “Recreational equipment, including clothing, can become contaminated and encourage the spread of Didymo if not cleaned properly before being used in another body of water.”

The algea has a slimy appearance and attaches to submerged plants, rocks, and other hard surfaces in rivers and streams by excreting a stalk that is resistant to degradation by bacteria and fungi. It has been found in several locations along the Trinity River from Trinity Dam to Helena.

The Forest Service explained the following steps can be used by river users to stop the spread of Didymo:

  1. INSPECT clothing, shoes, waders, and all gear.
  2. At home, CLEAN gear with hot water and one of the following: Dish soap: 1 cup per gallon water; Bleach: 1/2 cup per gallon water; Table salt: 1 cup per 1.25 gallons water;
  3. SCRUB non-absorbent items thoroughly with one of the solutions.
  4. SOAK clothes, waders, and absorbent items in hot, soapy or salty water, for 30 minutes, then rinse.
  5. DRY completely for at least 48 hours or FREEZE gear until frozen solid and completely dry.

If you think you have seen a Didymo bloom, the Forest Service asks that you write a brief description of what you saw and where. If possible, take GPS coordinates as well. Drop off your information at the Weaverville Ranger Station located at 360 Main Street Weaverville, CA 96093.

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