“Rock snot” could spell doom for Vermont trout

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Alarmed by reports about an invasive algae found in the Connecticut River, biologists from Vermont and New Hampshire will meet Friday with representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and river groups to make plans for combatting it, authorities said Wednesday.

At issue is the spread of Didymosphenia geminata, also known as didymo and “rock snot,” which has been found in two locations of the White River and in northern reaches of the Connecticut River, which separates Vermont and New Hampshire.

The microscopic algae results in thick mats of algae on river and stream bottoms in infested waters, and it can stick to fishing gear, boats and boots and can live in car trunks for weeks.

There is no known treatment for it.

“As didymo’s presence in Vermont’s waters has been confirmed, it is imperative that scientists and experts from across the region come up with a way to prevent its further spread in our waterways,” said Vermont Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie.

The meeting Friday in Waterbury will include representatives of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the New Hampshire departments of Environmental Services and Fish and Game, the Connecticut River Joint Commission, the White River Watershed Group and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A fishing guide who found evidence of it in the Connecticut River says it could spell doom for Vermont’s wild trout.

“I put my raft in the water and within 100 feet I took a look at the rocks and said, “It’s didymo. We’re screwed,”‘ said Lawton Weber, of Underhill.

“It will cover the streambed rocks,” said Weber, who runs Pleasant Valley Fly Fishing Guides. “It will destroy the aquatic insect population and in turn will destroy the wild trout population because there will be nothing to feed on.”

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