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Didymo – What’s the Big Deal

02/07/13 – Didymo - Do you think States with Didymo infected waters should have to post notice of those waters? Do you think states have  a Didymo in Riverresponsibility to let people know they have to Freeze, Heat or Dry their gear before they wade into another watershed? I do.

I don’t hear a lot of talk about Didymo. I don’t see a lot of people treating their gear streamside or read much about cleaning methods on discussion boards. In fact the last time I talked to a good friend who has been deeply involved in fishing and environmental issues here in Maine for years he said “Didymo - nobody worries about that any longer – it just isn’t an issue.” I hope he’s right. But is it not an issue because we here in Maine just don’t have it yet or is it really not a big deal.

Paul Gregory is an Environmental Specialist for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Invasive Species Program.   He thinks we have a problem coming and tells us it’s close. In his article he states “New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and the Canadian Maritimes all have infestations” and he asks us all clean our gear when changing watersheds.

DidymoLet me ask you – how many people do you know who disinfect their gear between outings? Not many I bet. How many people have fished in areas that have been infected and didn’t even know it? Quite a few I bet. Wonder if they brought it home with them?

One reason for that is places that have Didymo don’t really want to talk about it. When they do you hear comments like “We had a bloom one year but nobody has seen it since.” Reminds me of an ostrich with his head in the sand. Here’s another quote from Paul Gregory “Once didymo moves into a stream or river, it’s there forever; it cannot be eradicated.”

I’ve fished several rivers in the last two years that have Didymo – not one of them had any notice or warning to clean your gear before returning home. I fished the Upper Farmington – no warning but it was there. I did a saltwater bath cleaning before I left the area and I froze my gear when I got home. I fished the Matapedia River last fall – no sightings there for a year – I froze my gear when I got home.

I fished the Margaree River last spring – never any sighting there – I froze my gear when I got back. I clean my gear if I fish the Kennebec watershed on day one and fish the Penobscot watershed on day 2. Never any reported sightings in either of those watersheds but I clean my gear anyway – it doesn’t take long.

Take a minute and watch the video below showing a Didymo infested river in New Zealand.  I talked to Scott Davis (DIF&W) after he returned from a trip to the White River, in Arkansas and what he saw in the White River was just like what you’ll see in the New Zealand video. Whole sections of the river where Didymo dictated how and where you fished because of the matting on the bottom and the loose strands throughout the water column.

But maybe I’m wasting my time worrying about it – writing about it.  What do you think? If you’ve got a minute click here and go to the forum and answer these two questions. Do you worry about Didymo coming to Maine – and – Do you think infested waters like the Farmington, Delaware or Battenkill should be required to post a notice of Didymo infestation?