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Old 01-19-2007   #1
holley's Avatar
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Is Didymo a problem in Colorado?

When we went down to NZ last month, we were stopped at customs for our paddling gear. They wanted to wash our booties (bummer for them...) and educate us about the spread of Didymo in the Buller River. They put a few pamphlets in our bags, and made sure we knew of the threat. Then when we got to Murchison, there were signs at every waterway instructing folks on how to properly clean your gear before getting in another river because at the time, it was only in the Buller. It really was gross -- they call it the rock snot -- and was probably the worst at the headwaters, where it was likely introduced. A few days before we left to come home, there was something in the paper about it having spread to another river. Apparently the diatom has only been in NZ for a couple of years, and it has infected a pretty large area. In NZ they say it's native to Canada and parts of Europe, but then I also found some info that said it's indigenous to Colorado.

Apparently it's in Gore Creek, and it seems to be causing a little bit of a problem. Why had I not heard of it before traveling south? Is it not really a big threat here? We haven't seen it in our end of the'd know for sure. It really is snotty and yucky. Wonder if anyone knows specifics about the capacity for causing problems in the US.

Claire, you probably know folks who study this, eh?

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Old 01-19-2007   #2
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At first, I thought this was a joke or a troll. . . weird!

I learned to paddle on Gore Creek, but I can't put a finger on what you are talking about. It's "snotty" but what color is it? Where do you find it - on rocks? Never seen it because I was never really looking.

Maybe check with Nick Turner, or with Crystal Young? They might be a good place to start.


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Old 01-19-2007   #3
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I think I know what this is. It's that stuff that grows all over the rocks, on calmer streams, at the end of the summer. I was looking online and it says it looks slimy, but when you touch it, it's fiberous. That is exactly the kind of gunk that grows on Muddy Creek (above Gore) during the late summer. It makes it impossible to use lures or nymphs to fish for trout. You must use dry flies or this nasty, fiberous weed snags your lure. I've always wondered what that crap was called.
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Old 01-20-2007   #4
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found this:

If you google it as well there is some other information.....

Ben Guska
Team WS
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Old 01-20-2007   #5
Boulder, Colorado
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I remember reading an article about it a while back. It sounds pretty nasty. I hope boaters and fishers at Gore Creek are being educated to wash their stuff so as not to spread it to other streams, if only to delay it a little longer. I think it might have shown up in Boulder Creek too, but downstream of where anyone boats.
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Old 01-20-2007   #6
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i think the issue in boulder creek is new zealand mud snails.
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Old 01-20-2007   #7
Arvada, Colorado
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This actually brings up a good point.

Fisherman are pretty well informed about spreading of invasive plants and the such. New Zealand mud snails, whirling disease etc...

Light bleaching of waders to kill mud snails is, or should be, common practice for fisherman.

Boaters could easily spread these things too. I never really have thought about it though, even though I fish and boat.
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Old 01-20-2007   #8
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They call it 'minimal fuss', but the methods for preventing spread really take some work. According to the document Jiberish cited, and also the folks at the NZ kayak school, the following are approved for cleaning:

Make sure you have a sponge, some dishwashing or laundry detergent (bio-degradable and low-suds is best to minimize the environmental impact) and a decent-sized plastic gear bin when you go for a paddle, and follow this easy (minimal fuss) procedure:

* Fill your gear bin with water, chuck in salt or detergent (preferable) and mix to achieve a 5% solution (for ten litres of water you'll need to use 2 cups of detergent). If you have no bin you could use your kayak as a washing container.
* Put all your gear in the bin - make sure everything gets soaked.
* Sponge the top and sides of your boat with the solution and leave for a minute. Then turn your boat over and sponge the bottom of the boat and your paddle, then leave for a minute.
* Take your gear out of the bin and pour the solution into the boat. With the help of another paddler at the other end, slosh the water around the boat to clean the inside. You may wish to put the spraydeck on to help keep the water in and use a sponge to ensure that potentially absorbent places such as padding gets treated.
* Make sure that any solution is emptied well away from any river or watercourse (preferably into a septic tank or treated drain system).
* Preferably, rinse your gear (particularly buoyancy aids, drytops and other clothing and spraydecks) with freshwater (not from the river!).

If possible, leave your boat and gear to dry as an extra precaution. Note that if you don't clean your gear you need to dry all your gear thoroughly and then leave for another 48 hours. Given the difficulty of completely drying wetsuit booties and other kayaking gear, cleaning is preferred.

It's hard to imagine that folks would really work that hard to prevent it. How many of us put on gear that has barely dried from the evening before, let alone washing it in a salt solution or chlorine every time we use it?

I have fisher-friends, and they say the same thing...they are pretty well informed. Maybe it's cause they have to buy licenses and such. But as a group, it seems like kayakers travel quite a bit from river to river and could easily be responsible for transmission. If we could be part of the problem, it would be good to get the word out. It spread fast in NZ, and maybe it won't be such a problem here, but I just thought I would put it out there to see what people know before I start storing bins of salt solution next to my clothes line.
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Old 01-21-2007   #9
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The Didymo is actually in tons of rivers in the S. Island. The DOC (Department of Conservation) estimates that it's been in the Waiou (first found) for several years (maybe 10). Several rivers had been closed for a couple years and they just opened in Feb of 06. The DOC is doing their best to prevent the spread, but with birds migrating, it will move into most rivers over time. It's a tan algae like goo that is even in consistincey (think huge amounts of snot). We do get large blooms in Colorado (mostly bigger rivers) in the summer. It tends to be kept in check by other aquatic plants (NZ doesn't have many). I've seldom seen it in Colorado when paddling. I often find it more if I'm fishing (lower water levels).

Colorado has NZ mud snails in Boulder Ck and 11-mile canyon (rumors of them found in other places as well). We also have Whirling Disease (kills young Rainbow trout). WD has devistated Rainbow populations in the last 15 years in Colorado (it's basiclly spread to everywhere it will be sustained). It's very tough to prevent the spread of these organisms in our rivers. The systems in place only seem to delay it or do nothing at all. I'm not saying don't do anything, but as paddlers and stewards, we should be aware and do our part of trying to prevent the spread of these things when we know we are in infected rivers. Our DOW is usually good about posting signs when we are in places to be wary of.
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Old 02-05-2007   #10
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Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil
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Do you have any advice on Murchison paddling. I am getting to NZ this Thursday and am planning on paddling the Murch area. If I feel good in Murch I will try some stuff on the West Coast. How would you compare the Buller, Glenroy, etc to stuff in Colorado? Anything comparable? Thanks


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