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Spiny water flea. Photo: J. Liebig, NOAA
Spiny water flea. Photo: J. Liebig, NOAA

Few options for control of spiny water flea

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Discovery of the spiny water flea in Lake George has heightened worries that the invasive species will eventually move into Lake Champlain.

And it's brought new attention to the danger of the Champlain Canal, an open waterway between Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

This past summer, spiny water fleas were found in the canal, and in several areas of Lake George as well. That triggered a quick response from a task force of New York and Vermont experts.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

This summary only contains a portion of what’s in the audio interview. For the full interview, click “listen with NCPR player”.

They looked for a way to stop its spread.

They considered electric barriers and mesh screens where the La Chute River drops into Lake Champlain from the north end of Lake George. But they ruled those out.  

Spiny water fleas eat zooplankton that are an important food for native fishes. They can clog eyelets of fishing rods and attach to fishing line.

Last week, the task force said there's no fool-proof way to keep the spiny water flea out of Lake Champlain. They're hoping education and public awareness will help.

Meg Modley is the Aquatic Invasive Species Management Coordinator for the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and a member of the task force. She told Martha Foley the task force even considered diverting the LaChute River to a treatment area to remove the spiny water flea before the water reached Lake Champlain.

But she said there's just too much water, flowing too fast through too restricted a channel.

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