Ticonderoga A survey of Lake George is needed to determine the actual threat posed by invasive species.
That’s the assessment of Dr. Dean Cook of Ticonderoga, a member of the Lake George Park Commission, in discussing the spiny water flea — one of five invasive species now confirmed in Lake George — during a meeting of the LGPC aquatic invasive species committee in Ti recently.
“It points out the need for a lake-wide survey,” Cook said of the spiny water flea discovery. “Every invasive species found in Lake George in the last two years was discovered accidentally, including the spiny water flea.”
The spiny water flea was found near Mossy Point in Ticonderoga in August. It has now been confirmed in 10 locations in Lake George, according to David Wick, LGPC executive director.
“It’s pretty much throughout the lake,” Wick said. “We suspect the spiny water flea has probably been in the lake for a couple years and we just found it.”
Wick said the Lake George Park Commission has no management strategy for the spiny water flea at this time.
“Our next step is to do no more than monitor it,” he said. “There’s no human health impact. We’ll watch to see the impact it may have on fisheries.”
The state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed in August water fleas were found in Lake George by an angler in Ticonderoga. It was almost certainly inadvertently brought in by boaters from already-infested waters elsewhere.
A native of Asia, the flea, which is actually a tiny crustacean, can out-compete native fish for food sources, and swarms in such large numbers that masses of fleas can foul fishing lines.
“DEC has worked with its partners on the Lake Champlain Basin Task Force to stop and slow the spread of the spiny water flea,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “The discovery of spiny water flea in Lake George is not welcome news.”