TICONDEROGA - Scientists from Lake Tahoe have urged the Lake George community to act quickly in response to the recent discovery of Asian clams, while eradication is still a possibility.
In Lake Tahoe, small populations of this invasive bivalve were discovered in 2002 and since then the population has exploded to nuisance levels. Lake Tahoe research and management groups are now spending over $500,000 in an effort to reduce the population with little to no hope of eradication. Asian clams in Lake Tahoe have been linked to algal blooms and changing water quality conditions.
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI), whose staff discovered the Asian clam infestation in August, brought in Dr. Dan Marelli, who has long studied Asian clams and had collaborated with DFWI on research on native mollusks in Lake George. They quickly determined the extent of the problem and threat to Lake George and advised the Lake George community to act quickly and to focus its efforts on eradication.
Scientists from Lake Tahoe were also contacted because they had some of the best research on both the Asian clam's rapid population growth as well as management options. Dr. Marion Wittmann from the University of California Davis Lake Tahoe Environmental Research Center and Dr. Sudeep Chandra, from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Nevada Reno, noted that in Lake Tahoe Asian clams were first discovered in 2002, but management actions were not begun until 2008 when algal blooms began to appear in and around their dense beds. They counseled the Lake George effort to focus on eradication and to start its work quickly while the population remains contained.
Chandra and Wittman shared their research, spoke with students and other scientists, visited the Asian clam infestation sites in Lake George, and met with the Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force. They both agree that the early detection and limited infestation of Asian clam in Lake George makes eradication of the species a possibility.