Lake Champlain Task Force Responds to Spiny Waterflea in Lake George
The Lake Champlain Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response Task Force (Rapid Response Task Force) has determined that control and eradication of spiny water flea in Lake George is not technically feasible in a rapid timeframe. Spread prevention measures should be implemented as soon as possible.
The Rapid Response Task Force reviewed the technical feasibility of potential steps to prevent spiny water flea from moving from Lake George, NY through the La Chute River and into Lake Champlain. There are no known methods to contain and eradicate widely-distributed, pelagic spiny water flea from a lake as large as Lake George, especially because it has been confirmed in samples taken from the north and south ends of the Lake. The outflow of Lake George is at the lake’s northern end where the water flows through the LaChute River and drops 226 feet to Lake Champlain. The Rapid Response Task Force obtained information from several biologists and involved agency representatives to review options for containing the species in Lake George at the outlet.
Electric barriers at the outlet would not be feasible or effective in killing spiny water flea. Similarly, installation of a fine mesh was determined not to be feasible or effective based on the amount of debris that would have to be removed from the screen continually. Diverting water to a treatment area was also not feasible because space along the headwaters of the La Chute River flow through the Town of Ticonderoga is extremely limited.
The Task Force’s spread prevention recommendations include:
1. Continued sampling for spiny water flea in the LaChute River and at the outflow of the LaChute into Lake Champlain.
2. Focus on an early detection and expanded monitoring program for inland water bodies in the basin and surrounding region.
3. Identify and disseminate the most effective check, clean, drain, dry invasive zooplankton decontamination practices for boats, trailers, and recreational equipment and disseminate to recreationists arriving to and leaving from Lake George.
4. Address overland transport of spiny water flea on boats, trailers, and equipment through increased stewardship on Lake George and surrounding water bodies.
5. Support the exploration of a comprehensive spread prevention program for all aquatic invasive species in Lake George.
For further information, contact Meg Modley at the Lake Champlain Basin Program office at (802) 372-3213.