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What you can do to prevent the transportation of clams from one area to the next

Boat and Gear Disinfection Protocol
Boat and trailer cleaning guidelines to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species have been widely distributed to the public through a variety of publications, pamphlets, signs, etc. The guidelines consist of a nationally-accepted set of prevention steps. While disinfection is not a required prevention step for the general public, some boaters may be interested in the disinfection procedures followed by the WI DNR. Please note: the first three steps (Inspect and Remove, Drain, and Dispose) listed below are required.

The following steps shall be taken every time a boat, equipment or gear is moved between waters to avoid transporting invasive species and/or pathogens:

  • Inspect and remove aquatic plants, animals, and mud from your boat, trailer, equipment and gear.
  • Drain all water from your boat, motor, live well, bilge, transom wells, as well as from your equipment and gear, including but not limited to tracked vehicles, barges, silt or turbidity curtain, hoses, sheet pile and pumps.
  • Dispose of unwanted aquatic plants and animals in an appropriate way.
  • Disinfect your boat, equipment and gear by either:
    • Washing with ~212º F water (steam clean), OR
    • Drying thoroughly for 5 days after cleaning with soap and water and/or high pressure water, OR
    • Disinfecting with either 200 ppm (0.5 oz per gallon or 1 Tablespoon per gallon) Chlorine for 10-minute contact time or 1:100 solution (38 grams per gallon) of Virkon Aquatic for 20- to 30-minute contact time. Note: Virkon is not registered to kill zebra mussel veligers nor invertebrates like spiny water flea. Therefore this disinfect should be used in conjunction with a hot water (>104º F) application.

Safety Precautions for Disinfectant Use:

1. Receive and be required to read a copy of the Virkon-A Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product.
2. Wear chemical splash goggles.
3. Wear a face shield where the possibility exists for face contact due to splashing or spraying of the material.
4. Wear impervious clothing to prevent contact with skin. (gloves, pants, jacket, hood, and boots) or a Tyvek style full body suit.

In addition, all employees who handle or mix Virkon-A in powder form and prefer to wear a dust mask respirator when handling powder, may do so in compliance with the DNR Respiratory Protection Program Handbook MC 9180.5 Voluntary Use requirements.

Follow precautions 2, 3, and 4 (above).

  • Chlorine Wear eye protection, rain gear, gloves if spraying. Stay upwind of the spray. Will break down in sunlight and when in contact with organic material. Is corrosive to metal and rubber. Is toxic to fish at these concentrations so rinse well after disinfection or neutralize with sodium thiosulfate. For neutralizing chlorine, spray sodium thiosulfate in an 800 ppm solution (3 grams per gallon of water) on all surfaces after the disinfection period is over. Rinse with water from the next lake to remove any remaining sodium thiosulfate.
  • Virkon Aquatic This is a disinfectant in the peroxygen (hydrogen peroxide) family. It is a powder. It is 99.9% biodegradable and breaks down to water and oxygen and is not corrosive at the working dilution. Wear dust mask if mixing powder and eye protection, rain gear and gloves if spraying. Stay upwind of spray.

Sources of disinfectants
Chlorine - Household bleach (5.25% chlorine) can be purchased from a grocery or convenience store. HTH is granular chlorine (70% calcium hypochlorite) and can be purchased from a pool supply company.
Sodium Thiosulfate - Commonly used to neutralize chlorine and iodine. It should be available at a pool supply company or from a chemical supply company.
Virkon Aquatic is available from Western Chemical. It is the same formulation, but without the perfume and dye, and the label addresses specific fish pathogens. Their phone is 1-800-283-5292.
Disinfection measures must be taken prior to moving boats, equipment and other gear from one waterbody to another. They are not needed daily when sampling the same waterbody or for law enforcement equipment in emergency situations. In cases where boats and gear return to state hatcheries, disinfection should be done in a location away from ponds and water supplies to prevent disinfectant or untreated water from entering those areas. Every effort should be made to keep the disinfection solution and rinse water out of surface waters.
To the extent practicable, equipment and gear used on waters known to be infested with invasive species and viruses should not be used on other non-infested waters. The following are some helpful hints to consider when planning your work in water.

  • Organize your sampling so the work in infested waters is always done last.
  • If a high percentage of your work is done in waters with invasive species, consider dedicating certain gear to be used only in those waters.
  • Depending on the type of work you are doing, it may be possible to work with lake volunteers and use their boats to collect samples. That way only your gear needs to be disinfected.

The following methods are provided to assist staff when disinfecting equipment and gear commonly used by department staff.

Organic debris should be removed prior to disinfection. Power washing is not required, but nets could be sprayed with a garden hose to remove debris. Nets may be steam cleaned, washed and dried thoroughly for five days or treated with a disinfection solution. Nets should be placed in the disinfection solution for the appropriate contact time for the solution being used. After rinsing, the nets can be used immediately, or hung to dry.

Personal protective gear, including rain gear, gloves, boots/waders
Scrub personal protective gear with the disinfection solution. After scrubbing, the gear should be kept wet with the disinfection solution for the appropriate contact time. Rinse with clean water or water from the next waterbody. Alternatively, personal gear may be steam cleaned or dried thoroughly for five days after cleaning with soap and water.

Dip nets, measuring boards and other sampling gear
Remove any organic material from sampling gear. There are several options for disinfecting smaller gear. Dissolved oxygen probes and other sensitive electronic sampling gear may be damaged by disinfection solution and should only be rinsed with clean water. For other gear used in water choose one of the following options:

  •  Option one: The gear can be sprayed with the disinfection solution and a wet surface maintained for the appropriate contact time. The gear should be rinsed with clean water or water from the next waterbody before it is used again.
  •  Option two: Fill a tub with disinfection solution and place all equipment in the tub for the appropriate contact time. The gear should be rinsed with clean water or water from the next waterbody before it is used again.
  •  Option three: Use a completely new set of gear for each waterbody during the work day and disinfect all gear at the end of the day using option one or two.

Boats, trailers, and live wells
Remove organic material from boats, trailers, and live wells. Drain water from live wells, bilges and pumps. The outside and inside of the boat, trailer, live wells, bilges, and pumps should be sprayed with the disinfection solution and left wet for the appropriate contact time. The inside of the live wells, bilges and pumps should be made to contact the solution for the appropriate contact time as well. Run pumps so they take in the disinfection solution and make sure that the solution comes in contact with all parts of the pump and hose. The boat, trailer, bilges, live well, and pumps should be rinsed with clean water or water from the next waterbody after the appropriate contact time. Every effort should be make to keep the disinfection solution and rinse water out of surface waters. Pull the boat and trailer off the ramp and onto a fairly level area and away from street drains to minimize potential runoff into surface waters.
After removing from the water, tip the motor to the down position and start the motor for several seconds or turn motor over several times to dispel water from the cooling system. Alternatively and especially for motors moored in water for several days or more, emerge the lower unit in a bucket of disinfectant and run the motor to ensure contact with all internal parts and allow for the appropriate contact time. Or, rig up a short (6-foot) piece of garden hose to lower unit muffs. A pail of the disinfectant can be set in the back of the boat and gravity fed to the lower unit to run the disinfectant through the motor. Allow solution to remain in motor for the appropriate contact time. The hose will need to be primed to start the gravity flow because the lower unit does not create enough suction to prime the hose. A non-corrosive (Virkon Aquatic) is recommended for use to protect the impeller. Rinse with clean water or water from the next waterbody.
Heavy Equipment

For heavy equipment steam-cleaning is an effective method of disinfection.

This information was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  The original document may be found at:  http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/documents/disinfection_protocols.pdf

Asian Clams Found in Owasco Lake

What is it?

Asian Clam has been found this fall in the north end of Owasco Lake and has been confirmed by the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Nonindigenous Aquatic Species unit. Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), otherwise known as "golden clam," is a non-native invasive species that is capable of rapid growth and spread. They are small bivalves (two shells hinged together), averaging less that 1.5 inches with an oval triangular shape. They are also known as the golden clam and they are yellow brown, light brown to black with distinctive elevated, evenly spaced concentric ridges on the surface. The Asian Clam prefers sandy or gravelly bottom areas, in shallow, warm water.  The Asian clam is hermaphroditic, which means you only need one to reproduce. A single clam can release over 400 offspring per day, depending on the conditions. In our climate, they typically spawn from July to September and have a life span of up to seven years. The juveniles do not swim but can easily be moved in water currents or transported by humans.


Where is it from?

The Asian clam was first found in North America in 1938 in Washington State. It is thought that it was brought to the U.S. by immigrants as a food source. Since then, it has spread to over 40 states, most likely through the bait and aquarium trade. The juveniles can be moved in flowing water and could easily be moved around in bait buckets and other areas of a boat that holds water. Asian clams were found in several sections of the Susquehanna Basin as early as 1995, in Seneca Lake in 1999 at the power plant near Dresden, and in the Erie Canal near Utica in 2009. Exactly how the Asian clam was introduced to Owasco Lake or how long it has been here is unknown at this point.

Problems caused by Asian clam:

Two big problems Asian clams have caused in other water bodies are biofouling (or clogging of water intake pipes) and algae blooms. The clams filter feed on plankton and compete with native mollusks for food and space. While the potential impact of Asian clams becoming established in Owasco Lake is still unclear at this point, they can grow and spread rapidly, displacing native species, reducing biodiversity, and altering the food web. Some fish and crayfish do eat them, but at the densities they can reach, up to 500 clams per square foot, it is unlikely such predation would significantly affect their population. Nutrients from the excrement of the clam can feed plant and algal growth. In high densities, Asian clams have been associated with bright green algae blooms in Lake Tahoe.

What you can do:

We are asking lakeshore residents to see if Asian clam shells are washed up on their lakefront area and asking them to rake the sediment near and just below the waterline to see if they can find live Asian clams. If a clam is found in Owasco Lake that matches the description of the Asian clam, citizens are asked to get a sample or take a photograph and report it on the Owasco Lake Network website at www.owascolake.org. If you have questions about Asian clam in Owasco Lake, please contact the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspector at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  If you find one in a lake other than Owasco, please contact Amy Barra at Cayuga County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 315-255-1183. Asian clams are spread by the adult clams being moved or the juveniles being moved in contaminated sediment or water taken from right above the sediment in areas where clams occur. You should:

  • Do not move boats, bait, equipment, etc. from Owasco Lake to any other non-infested lake or stream. This is necessary to prevent their spread to Cayuga Lake,Skaneateles Lake, Duck Lake, Lake Como and other local waterbodies. If you must move it to non-infested waters, wash your boat and all equipment before leaving Owasco Lake (see further instructions below). Be sure to drain all water, including live wells and bait buckets.
  • Do not use Asian Clams as bait.
  • Do not keep "golden clams" in outdoor water gardens.
  • Do not keep "golden clams" in your aquarium(s). If you already have them, do not
  • Empty water, gravel or any other aquarium contents near a stream or lake.

Report your findings here!



View Survey Results

Additional boater information:

Many invasive species travel from waterbody to waterbody through boating. For boaters, when you leave any waterway you should:

  • Check and remove any visible mud, plants, fish or organisms from boats, trailers,
  • equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.
  • Clean and eliminate water from equipment.
  • Dry anything that comes into contact with water.
  • Never release plants, fish, or other animals into a waterway unless they came from
  • that waterway.

More information can be found at:

Owasco Lake Mosaic

Hi folks,

There will be a mosaic of Owasco Lake installed on one of the concrete sitting walls on Exchange St. Mall downtown, Sept. 25-26 from 9AM - 5PM. 

Participants should dress comfortably and not to wear anything they can't get dirty in. If they have a work apron, it's very handy.

Student shifts are running from 9AM - Noon, then Noon - 3PM both Saturday and Sunday. BPII offered to create a sign-up sheet for students for each work station, and to have certificates the day of- for those that help. But, all are welcome anytime, for any length of time. Yet, to really learn the technique, participation is encouraged both days.

Saturday will involve breaking tile, cutting mirror, painting and gluing mosaic pieces to the concrete walls. The day before we install, the design will be painted on the walls, and on site, a color copy of the composition will be mounted for view, and direction clearly given to what color goes where. It's very easy, and fun.

Sunday is more labor intensive, we will mix 5 colors of grout and apply it to the walls. After it sets a bit, we will feather off access grout, and buff the tiles to make them shine.

I'm happy to share that Mesa Grande is providing food for volunteers both days.

Flowing Forward

Freshwater Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in Water Resources Management and Biodiversity Conservation


I found this pdf describing the effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems.  It's very interesting stuff and applies to the finger lakes.

Check it out at http://flowingforward.org/.  Other climate change info can be found at http://www.climate1stop.org.

DEC investigates watershed manure spill (Citizen Article)

The Citizen ran a story about a manure spill at a farm in the Dutch Hollow watershed.  It looks like as much as 7,000 gallons of manure may have made it into the tributary.  See the story at the link below.

DEC investigates watershed manure spill

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