This past August a colony of invasive clams was discovered in New York’s Lake George. Called Asian clams after their ancestry of southeast Asia, these invaders compete with native organisms for food and excrete nutrients that promote algae growth. They can also turn the water green and the calcium they release helps zebra mussels flourish. Like the zebra mussels, they reproduce quickly and clog pipes. All in all, not good.
Lake Tahoe has the same problem in an even bigger way. Experts from there have visited Lake George to help with the eradication effort. The current plan is to place benthic mats over the colonies and suffocate them. The mats seem to have had an impact in Lake Tahoe in controlling the clams and the hope is that in Lake George they’ll be able to eliminate the clams before they get too strong a hold.
According to the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Asian clams are currently in over 35 states plus the District of Columbia. They first showed up in the US on the west coast in the 1930’s. Now they are found across the entire country.
The best way to prevent infestations of Asian clams and other invaders and hitchhikers from spreading is to follow the recommendations found at Protect Your Waters This website is part of the “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!” campaign sponsored by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the United States Coast Guard. A visit to their website provides valuable information on the many invasive species threatening our waterways along with directions on how to help prevent and curtail their spread.
Tim Daughten from the Orvis Company has an excellent video on how to prevent the spread of this and other invasive species. Check out this two minute video here: Tips For Stopping The Spread Of Invasive Species