After Winter Kill, Asian Clam Rebounds
Asian clams did not spread as aggressively last year as they have in the past, the Lake George Park Commission concluded after surveying the lake’s population in September.
After inspecting two hundred sites identified as likely habitat for the invasive species, “no significant new locations,” were found, according to Dave Wick, the executive director of the Lake George Park Commission.
Moreover, Wick reported, the density of existing populations may have decreased by as much as 90% over the course of the winter.
In all likelihood, the population’s diminished status was the product of “a severe winter,” said Wick.
“Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have found that more than 60 days of extremely cold water results in a massive die‐off. Lake George was referred to as a body of water that met those conditions last winter,” said Wick.
But a summer of temperatures within historic norms reversed those gains, said Wick.
Shortly after the survey was completed, researchers returned to sites known to have been infested with Asian clams and found the populations had rebounded, said Wick.
He said the populations had returned to their pre-winter levels and were likely to grow exponentially.
Walt Lender, the executive director of the Lake George Association, said he was not surprised by the clams’ quick recovery.
“The Asian clam reproduces prolifically,” said Lender.
Lender added that the last year’s unusually harsh winter should not have lulled anyone into thinking the Asian clam population was self-regulating.
“That would require that we have unusually cold winters every year, and experience shows that’s unlikely to happen,” said Lender.
According to Lender, the lake’s Asian Clam Task Force is scheduled to re-convene within the next few weeks to discuss the current status of the lake’s Asian clam population and potential strategies for managing its growth.
“By then, we will also have the results of research by the Darrin Fresh Water Institute that will give us a better idea of its life cycle and how it travels through the lake, among other things,” said Lender. “The more information we have about the Asian clam, the better we can control it.”
There are no plans to treat infested areas with benthic mats at this time, said Dave Wick.
The September, 2014 lake-wide survey for Asian clams was the third to be conducted since the invasive species was discovered in Lake George in 2010.
More than 50 volunteers travelled aboard one of four boats to each of the 200 sites, where they sifted sand through sieves searching for clams.
The volunteers discovered that an infestation near Million Dollar Beach had spread toward the outlet of East Brook. One live clam was found near Candlelight Cottages in Bolton Landing.