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Spiny Water Flea Confirmed in Lake George

Minnesota Sea Grant

The Spiny Water Flea has been confirmed in Lake George.  Scientists say the discovery of the invasive zooplankton in another New York water body almost assures that it will spread into Lake Champlain.

The New York State Department of Conservation announced on Wednesday that an angler on Lake George had found a mass on his fishing line and alerted a lake steward.  The sample was taken to the Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing where Research Scientist Larry Eichler confirmed it was the invasive species spiny water flea.

Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky has two primary concerns for the lake.

Last month, the spiny water flea was confirmed in the Champlain Canal.  There have been calls by scientists and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to close parts of the canal to protect Lake Champlain.  Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh Director Tim Mihuc conducts the monitoring for Lake Champlain and he found the invasive in the canal system.

Lake Champlain Researcher Tim Mihuc says if the spiny water flea has been detected on fishing line, the Lake George infestation is significant.

Lake George is isolated from other water bodies, so the spiny water flea most likely entered it by human intervention.  Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender says it emphasizes the need for boaters and anglers to clean boats and equipment when entering and exiting all water bodies.

The spiny water flea was found near Mallory Island, near the northeast shore of Lake George.  A Rapid Response Task Force is beginning to evaluate options.