(WABI) – A new nuisance has been found close to our state that could hurt our waterways. Scientists refer to it as Didymo, but it’s more commonly known as rock snot.
The invasive algae is native to northern Europe and Asia, but has been found in North America, most recently along the Vermont-New Hampshire border.
Mark Latti, with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, says rock snot is scary because it can spread so easily. Unlike milfoil, that can be transplanted by a plant fragment, Didymo can be transported by a single cell.
And, unlike the invasive plant species of variable leaf milfoil, which grows in lakes, ponds and slow moving streams, rock snot prefers cool, clear rivers with gravelly rock bottoms.
Because the algae creates a coating on river bottoms, it smothers out the insects which feed local fish. It thrives in those clean, clear gravelly areas it covers up spawning habitat for trout and salmon.
So far, it hasn’t been found in Maine waters, and there are ways to help prevent it from ever making it’s way here. People just need to check their equipment, and make sure they clean and dry it.