Spiny water flea invasion imminent - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Spiny water flea invasion imminent

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Hopes to keep a tiny invader out of Lake Champlain may be sunk.

Wednesday, scientists announced that the spiny water flea is in Lake George and expected to arrive in Vermont soon. The invasive species only grows to about half-an-inch long but the tiny pest could cause big problems for wildlife and outdoor enthusiast on Lake Champlain.

Down on the docks of the Shelburne Shipyard, veteran fishing guide Richard Greenough is wrapped up after another day on the water Wednesday.  He says this summer business is booming.

However, an invasive species could prove to be a thorn - or rather a spine - in his side. "Seen a lot of things come, a lot of things go," he said of invasive species, "a lot of things came and stayed: such as sea lampreys, zebra mussels, and the Bythotrephes - spiny water flea - is on the horizon."

"They eat up the Daphnia which is a plankton that the little fish feed on, " he explained, "especially Walleyes and that's a big concern."

Originally from Europe and Asia, Wednesday scientists confirmed that a fisherman accidentally reeled in one of the rapidly reproducing crustaceans while out on Lake George. Samples taken on Lake Champlain have haven't found evidence of the species, but its presence in neighboring bodies of water means the spiny water flea's arrival is a near certainty.

"This clearly means the invasion is imminent," said Tim Mihuc, the director of SUNY Plattsburgh's Lake Champlain Research Institute. In June, he and his team of researchers found the Spiny Water Flea in a feeder canal that connects the Hudson River to the Champlain Canal.

That prompted calls from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, to close the canal.  However, researchers now say it won't be possible to stop the water flea from moving from Lake George into the La Chute River and eventually Lake Champlain.

"It's troubling in that now we kind of have a double whammy," said Mihuc, "the Spiny Water Flea is coming into Lake Champlain from two directions."

Greenough said at this point, left with more questions than answers as to how the new creature will affect Lake Champlain, he's more worried about the news cycle than the flea. "Bad media always hurts business," he said. He added that friends of his who have experience with the flea on Lake Ontario said the effects haven't been as bad as forecast.

Mihuc said the flea may already be in Lake Champlain even though they haven't found it in sampling. He expects they'll find proof by the fall though, or spring by the very latest.

In a release Wednesday, Sen. Leahy conceded that the practicality of stopping the fleas spread may have changed. He's still pushing for an invasive species barrier within the Champlain Canal though in order to keep the next possible intruder from entering the lake.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Officer involved shooting in Bennington Police Dept.

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:02 GMT
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
    Police say there has been an officer involved shooting inside the Bennington Police Department. It happened just before 9 Tuesday evening. Authorities are releasing very few details. But say the Bennington Police Chief has called in the Vermont State Police to investigate after an officer allegedly shot a man in the lobby of the police station. No word yet on what prompted the shooting. The injured man was taken to a hospital. Police would not comment on the severity of his injuries. Initial ...More >>
  • Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Champlain College housing plans put on hold

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:22:42 GMT
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
    It's a fight that's pitting Champlain College against the Queen City. The school says it's not giving up on building more student housing, even after being denied land-use permits. Years ago, the college made a commitment to create housing for all students but that goal has hit a snag, with their recent construction plans on hold.The project would create more than 300 beds for Champlain students on St. Paul Street, but the Development Review Board denied the permits the college needed based o...More >>
  • Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Burlington school budget on it's way back to voters

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:56:59 GMT
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
    A new Burlington school budget is on its way to voters that is more expensive and has more cuts than the last version.The board of finance approved a $67.6 million budget. On Town Meeting Day voters shot down a budget that was about a million dollars less than this new budget. After a recent audit that uncovered a $2.5 million dollar deficit, the board was forced to slash $2.5 million in programming and staff. School board chair Patrick Halladay acknowledges concerns about a larger budget wit...More >>
  • Amphibians on the move

    Amphibians on the move

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:09 GMT
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
    People across the state are helping out their amphibian friends on the move. Biologists say this annual salamander crawl happens on the first warm rainy nights of spring like Tuesday night. Over half a dozen of different critters from frogs to spotted salamanders travel to breeding grounds. But often, experts say, that means crossing busy roads which can be deadly for a large number of amphibians. But groups on Pond Road in Shelburne, are giving a helping hand to get the salamanders safely ac...More >>
  • Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Vermont man accused of identity theft

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:34 GMT
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
    A Vermont man is accused of using stolen identities in a scheme to defraud banks now faces federal charges. Prosecutors say 35-year-old Brian Wyer used identities of Ohio and Kansas residents to obtain two Vermont non-driver ID cards. He then allegedly used the fraudulent IDs to open bank accounts in Massachusetts withdrawing about $75,000. Wyer was indicted in Vermont in June and taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Illinois last month. During his arraignment Monday in Burlington the judge...More >>
  • Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Rutland vandals target parking meters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 04:23:55 GMT
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
    Police say vandals in Rutland targeted several parking meters in a quest for quick cash. 11 meter locks and 12 meter cans filled with change were damaged along Merchants Row, Center Street, Court Street, Cottage Street and Justice Square parking lot. One meter pole and its vault was also destroyed. Police put damage in excess of thousand bucks. Anyone with information is asked to call Rutland City police.More >>
  • Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Vt. principal who faced criminal charges wants clearer mandatory reporting law

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:53:40 GMT
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
    A law designed to protect kids landed a Vermont school principal in hot water. Now, Danville High School Principal Noah Noyes wants lawmakers to put the state's mandatory reporting rules under the microscope.More >>
  • Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Embezzlement case prompts changes from Vt. officials

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:39:01 GMT
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
    The case of a Vermont worker charged with embezzling taxpayer money is prompting changes in the state's system.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.