Invasive ‘Snot Rock’ algae found in upper Pecos River

COWLES — The Department of Game and Fish is urging anglers and others who visit the Pecos River Canyon to take measures to prevent the spread of an invasive species of algae that could present many problems for the Pecos River and other state waters.

The New Mexico Environment Department confirmed a bloom of Didymosphenia geminata in the Pecos River near Cowles in August.  Commonly called “didymo,” the single-celled alga’s large, ugly growths on stream gravels have earned it the descriptive name, “rock snot.” It is an aquatic nuisance species known to be transferred around the world on boats, fishing equipment and footwear.

Didymo can undergo explosive growth, creating massive algal blooms in the form of dense mats that can impact native algae and invertebrates — the food base for native and sport fish. The alga can change water chemistry and hydrology and reduce hydroelectric power production. Its presence also can hurt tourist economies in infected areas.

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Follow-up article by Rudy Rios: Did you know?