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Asian clams can reach the size of a dime or larger in 2-3 years

Asian clams can reach the size of a dime or larger in 2-3 years

Asian Clam Eradication Starts Monday

By Mirror Staff

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The effort to eradicate Asian clams from Lake George will begin on Monday, April 25 with the installation of benthic mats over six acres of lake bottom, members of the Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force have announced.

The mats will remain in place until mid-July, said Peter Bauer, executive director of The Fund for Lake George and a member of the Task Force.

“The plan is to try and contain the spread of the Asian clam. In just three years this invasive has spread from likely a few dozen clams in a bait bucket or aquarium to hundreds of thousands spread through six acres. We need to kill as many as possible. Results from this treatment will inform decisions about subsequent treatments,” said Bauer.

The Task Force hopes to eradicate most of the clams before the water temperature rises  and the clams start reproducing.

“Extensive monitoring will help to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Additional sampling will be conducted outside the treatment area to locate any satellite populations.  Any populations found will be spot treated with benthic barriers,” said Dr. Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, Director of DFWI.

The eradication effort is expected to cost more than $415,000, with local governments and community volunteers providing more than  $100,000 of in-kind services.

The project area will be clearly marked with signage on the beach, docks, and in the water so that boaters and the public are aware of the work.  Lake users will be asked to operate boats slowly near the matted area with their motors trimmed up so they do not disturb the treatment mats or foul their propellers in the mats.  Swimmers are asked to stay out of the matted area during the course of the project.

“We are doing everything we can to minimize any inconvenience to lake users.  Hopefully we’ll have our work done well before the peak swim-ming and boating season.  We hope that any inconvenience seen this year is far outweighed by the long-term success of removing this invader,” stated Walt Lender, the Lake George Association’s Executive Director.

Originally, a suction harvesting operation was to be combined with the use of benthic barriers.  High costs, late ice-out conditions, and other logistical issues forced the Task Force to abandon that element of the plan and pursue an expanded benthic-barrier-only treatment effort this spring. Based on results from the spring treatment effort, an additional fall treatment that involves a combination of suction harvesting and benthic barriers is likely, Task Force members said.

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