Post-treatment survey results this spring suggested that the seven acres of mats placed on the bottom of Lake George last winter successfully killed off several populations of Asian clams. However, a two-week lakewide survey in early September has revealed that the invasive clams are showing up in new locations, and spreading beyond the treated areas.
New clam populations have been identified by volunteers and staff from the various organizations that make up the Lake George Asian Clam Task Force. New locations with clams have been found at Million Dollar Beach, Sandy Bay, Cotton Point and Basin Bay in southern Lake George, as well as the private boat launch area in Glenburnie in the Northern Basin.
Plans are still being developed for the new sites as well as expansions of existing sites. “Based on survey findings, our control strategy for the more established sites was thwarted by the aggressive reproductive abilities of these invasive clams,” Chris Navitsky, Lake George Waterkeeper, said in a statement to the press. “This development only amplifies the need for mandatory measures to inspect and decontaminate all trailered boats before entering the Lake. Protection from invasives ultimately requires prevention while we study new and better ways to tackle those species that are already here.”
Plans are still in the works for the next round of treatment. “We are prioritizing locations based on a series of factors including spread potential, research value, recreational uses, density of clam populations, and ecological sensitivity, but there are many things to consider and not enough resources to do everything we want to do,” according to Walt Lender, executive director of the Lake George Association. “At the top of the list for right now is trying to find out whether the adult clams in the lake have just released another generation of offspring. This is going to be a difficult and labor-intensive process because samples of water and sediment must be carefully examined under a microscope in a lab, but finding this out now will inform our upcoming fall efforts.”
The lake-wide survey included close to 50 volunteers and staff from Task Force partners with crews on four boats throughout Lake George. Rich Morin’s Dive Center donated the use of wet suits for volunteers to wear while surveying.