Trout-snuffing 'rock snot' confirmed in Poplar River
Oct 26, 2018 06:15AM
By John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune - October 25, 2018
A nasty cold-water algae nicknamed "rock snot" has been confirmed in the Poplar River near Lutsen along the North Shore of Lake Superior, the first such finding in a Minnesota trout stream.
The freshwater algae, officially called didymo, lives in low nutrient, low temperature environments that are common in North Shore streams and Lake Superior, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Thursday.
Under the right conditions, didymo can form dense mats of brown slime that smother stream beds and may affect stream invertebrates that are food for fish, birds and other animals.
In other regions of the U.S., and as far away as New Zealand, didymo has been devastating to local trout populations, and anglers are being warned to avoid spreading the algae to other Northland waters. In South Dakota's Rapid Creek, for example, didymo was discovered in 2005 and has since been blamed for a major reduction in the stream's brown trout population.
Didymo was confirmed in Lake Superior at very low levels in 2015 but had never before been seen upstream in rivers. At first thought to be an invasive species, didymo is now believed to be a native species always present in lower levels.
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