What is this gooey mess floating in PA’s Ohiopyle? It’s called “Didymosphenia geminata“, commonly known as “rock snot”. It’s a form of algae that blooms in freshwater streams, with consistently cold tempatures. For years biologists at universities, wildlife organizations and state agencies cautioned against the spread of “rock snot,” the mucous-textured invasive algae that has disrupted watersheds throughout the American Northeast and Northwest. It is not considered a significant human health risk, but it can affect stream habitats and sources of food for fish and make recreational activities unpleasant. It is considered a nuisance organism or invasive species. The algae can grow into dense blooms that fill the cavities between rocks, blocking sunlight and disrupting ecological processes resulting in a decline in plant and animal life. Macro-invertebrates, the primary food for trout, are generally affected first. As the algae carpets the waterway, the biomass is altered, impacting bait fish and game fish. The algae slips off rocks and permeates the water, making a gooey, unsatisfying mess for recreational anglers and boaters.
Again there is no risk to humans but this can cause a big issue for the aquatic life with affecting fish habitat. It also can make for a long day of fishing with this stuff constantly covering its self on your line and hooks.
How does Didymosphenia Spread? It can spread from a drop of it in the water and grow rapidly. The spread of didymo probably can’t be stopped, boaters and anglers may be able to slow its rate of expansion in the waterways. Raise Awareness: Cleaning down your wading boots, fishing gear and boats after each trip will help. You can easily spread from one waterway to the other.
“Maryland bans felt wading soles, which are believed to easily transport didymo cells among watersheds. The state’s DNR places wader washing stations at popular fishing locations. Anglers are urged to clean mud and other debris from their boots, then step into pails of saltwater and brush toe to knee for about 60 seconds. Felt soles remain legal in Pennsylvania. Fish and Boat officials have said the agency is reluctant to ban a product proven to improve water safety while more troubling modes of didymo transportation — boats and industrial machinery — remain unregulated from an invasive species perspective. The state does not provide wader washing stations. For now, education remains the main tool in combating the spread of didymo.” PPG