Rock Snot' Algae Discovered in the Youghiogheny River

If you go fishing or boating in the Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania officials want to make sure you scrub down your gear to prevent the spread of an invasive algae bloom with the highly descriptive name of rock snot. The Allegheny Frontís Megan Zagorski reports.

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OPEN: If you go fishing or boating in the Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania officials want to make sure you scrub down your gear to prevent the spread of an invasive algae bloom with the highly descriptive name of ìrock snot.î The Allegheny Frontís Megan Zagorski reports.

ZAGORSKI: It took two months to confirm, but now didymo, more commonly known as ìrock snot,î has been documented in the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park in the southwestern part of the state.

Terry Brady with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says didymo shouldnít affect Ohiopyle visitors.

BRADY: "The park is open, and there is no overt danger to human beings, pets, that type of thing.î

ZAGORSKI: But didymo does pose a threat to the ecosystem. Thatís because didymo forms a thick carpet on the bottom of streams and rivers, plugging the nooks and crannies where fish, mussels and other aquatic wildlife live. It clings to rocks, giving them a fuzzy appearance ó hence the ìrock snotî nickname.

Didymo canít be removed from a waterway once itís there, but its spread can be prevented if anglers and boaters clean their gear carefully. Didymo most likely traveled to the Youghiogheny by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, and a single live cell of didymo can explode into a full-blown infestation. State officials will monitor the algae to try contain its spread.

For the Allegheny Front, Iím Megan Zagorski.