Invasive Asian Clams Removed From Sandy Bay, Mostly Dead Ones Found

This article appeared in The Lake George Mirror.

Anecdotal evidence from the Lake George Association’s annual Asian Clam Citizen Science Day, held July 13, suggests that it was a tough winter season for that particular aquatic invasive species.

That's good news for anyone who loves Lake George’s water quality and who is concerned about the effects of invasive species in the watershed. More good news is that the LGA staff, Lake George Park Commission staff and 24 volunteers removed more than 42,000 Asian clams from Sandy Bay that day.

A number of volunteers came from the Lake Stewardship Group of Cleverdale & Rockhurst, a very active citizens group whose mission focuses on protecting Lake George and improving the water quality.

Even better news: More than 41,000 of the clams were dead or were empty shells – and many of the shells were of a size indicating the clams could have been reproductively active. Out of the total, only about 1,200 were alive – and the live ones that we found and removed were small.

Meaning these Asian clams will never have the opportunity to reproduce in Lake George.

Kristen Wilde, the Lake George Association’s Education Director, said, “It is unclear whether the reason so many Asian clams had died was cold over the winter, or a deep and long ice cover, or lack of oxygen, or something else.”

As part of this year’s Citizen Science Day, the twenty-four volunteers and LGA and Park Commission staff spent three hours in Sandy Bay, on the east side of Lake George between Cleverdale and Rockhurst, digging to find and remove the Asian clams. The day is scheduled in conjunction with the New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week, and is part of the Lake George Association’s popular Citizen Science programs.

We were very pleased so many people were interested in the LGA’s Citizen Science program and came out to help us document the problem and remove the invasive Asian Clams,” said Lindsey Kenna, Environmental Educator for the Lake George Association. 

LGA staff also discussed the project with the boaters in Sandy Bay that morning, spreading the word on how as boaters they can protect the Lake’s water quality, including:

  • Cleaning sand, dirt and plant material off of anchor and rope, fishing equipment and other boating equipment before leaving one area and stopping in another;
  • Ensuring that their boat is cleaned when leaving a water body, including Lake George; and
  • Report any issues they see to the LGA or the Lake George Park Commission.

Invasive Asian clams have been found in 23 places on Lake George, according to the latest full-lake survey performed in 2017 as part of the Lake George Park Commission’s annual review. LGA staff assist with the survey each year. LGA staff and the Stewardship group are discussing a follow up survey later in the summer or early fall to obtain more data.

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