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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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An diver places benthic barriers to eradicate Asian clams. Photo<br>by Emily DeBolt.

An diver places benthic barriers to eradicate Asian clams. Photo
by Emily DeBolt.

Lake George Launches Attack on Invasive Clams

By Anthony F. Hall

Monday, March 28, 2011

First discovered in Lake George last August, Asian clams could be eliminated from the lake by the start of  this summer.

A $350,000 dollar eradication effort will begin in April, the Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force has announced.

“We believe this effort will greatly reduce the numbers of these invasive clams to the point where they can be eradicated with subsequent treatments, or eliminated altogether,” said Dr. Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, director of  the Darrin Fresh Water Institute and a member of the Task Force.

According to Nierzwicki-Bauer, benthic barriers will be installed across a 3.25 acre area in Lake George Village where the infestation is largely concentrated.

“Benthic barriers will cut off oxygen supplies and suffocate the clams over a 45-day treatment period,” said Nierzwicki-Bauer.

The Task Force conducted a pilot study last fall to determine the best method of eradicating the clams.

“The goal of the pilot project was to assess four different mat types, and based on effectiveness, cost and ease of installation and maintenance, we selected the type of benthic mat that will be used this spring,” said Nierzwicki-Bauer.

“Without proper experimental design, data collection, and analysis, we would have been  taking an educated guess at what to do, based on experiences in other lakes,” said Nierzwicki-Bauer.  “It was therefore important to spend the time and money on the pilot study.”

In addition to installing benthic mats, the Task Force will also employ suction harvesting, removing clams from another 2.58 acres. In all, 5.23 acres will be treated for Asian clams.

“It’s likely that this 5-acre infestation started only a few years ago with a few clams in a bait bucket, in a fish tank, or transported on a boat, trailer or construction equipment. We’ll be probing the area throughout the treatment time to try and locate satellite populations and treat these,” said Peter Bauer, a member of the Task Force an the executive ditrector of The Fund for Lake George.

According to Task Force member and Lake George Association executive director Walt Lender, suction harvesting  will be used near seawalls, beaches, boat launches and docks.

Nierzwicki-Bauer said that the process of suction harvesting will be completed by mid-May, so as to minimize any inconvenience to local residents and business owners.

The area where the Asian clams are concentrated is located near one of the lake’s busiest commercial strips.

Lender noted the area contains more than 750 motel rooms and cottages and more than 150 boat slips, but added that the eradication effort should not disrupt business.

“We’ve already met with half a dozen property owners; we listened to their concerns, and we’ll do everything we can to accommodate those concerns,” said Lender.  “We also explained the plan, which was well-received. Everyone wants to do what’s best for the lake.”

The Task Force will provide signs explaining the eradication project to motel guests and boaters with instructions in how to avoid interfering with its success, Lender said.

According to Nierzwicki-Bauer, the eradication effort had to begin before the lake’s temperature rises and the clams reproduce.

“If treatment were delayed until the fall, it’s likely that the treatment area would be 20 to 33% larger than it is now, as two new breeding cycles would have been completed by then,”  said Nierzwicki-Bauer.

“We’re optimistic that we have a good plan to eradicate this invader, but our margin of error is small,” said Peter Bauer.

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