Casey Calls on Feds to Take On Growing Invasive Species Threat That Could Harm PA’s Economy

‘Rock Snot’ Has Appeared in Eastern and Western PA - Could Harm $1.6B Industry

With Trout Season In Full Swing, Senator Calls for Swift Action 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today called on federal officials to step up their assistance to Pennsylvania as it battles a growing invasive species that could harm the Commonwealth’s economy.

In a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar, head of the Department of the Interior, Senator Casey called for the feds to work ‘expeditiously and provide immediate assistance’ to the state as it tries to combat didymo, also known as ‘rock snot.’ The invasive algae could seriously harm Pennsylvania’s fishing industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to the state’s economy annually. Particularly now with trout season in full swing, Senator Casey called for swift action.

“An invasive species like this could have a devastating impact on the state’s economy, and the Department of the Interior should take quick and decisive action to combat it,” Senator Casey said. “Pennsylvania’s fishing industry is a driver of economic growth and a proven job creator for our state, which makes this new invasive species threat all the more urgent.”

Not long ago, the Delaware River Basin Commission discovered large blooms of didymo in the Delaware River. These newly discovered blooms alone extend for forty miles, and it is believed that didymo blooms currently extend across more than 100 miles of river.

Didymo blooms are not isolated to the Delaware River. The recent discovery of blooms in the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park has created the potential for further proliferation of destructive algae.  This invasive species now threatens the rivers and streams of both eastern and western Pennsylvania.

The species has the potential to seriously degrade the fishing, boating and swimming opportunities for Pennsylvanians. Not only would its spread hamper recreation, it would also jeopardize local economies. With an economic impact of over $1.6 billion, Pennsylvania’s fishing industry is vital to the state’s economy. The health of the Delaware River and the Youghiogheny River are connected to the health of the Commonwealth’s economy.

Didymo thrives in moving water and can form mats eight inches thick. These mats are capable of crowding out native plants and changing the biological conditions of the ecosystem. Often, people transport didymo from one location to another after the plant attaches to fishing equipment, shoes, or even boat propellers. The risk of spread is particularly high right now during trout season. Education on the unintentional spread of didymo is very important to stop its spread.

Senator Casey’s letter to Secretary Salazar is below:

The Honorable Ken Salazar

Secretary

Department of the Interior

Dear Secretary Salazar:

Not long ago, the Delaware River Basin Commission discovered large blooms of didymo (also known as “rock snot”) in the Delaware River. These newly discovered blooms alone extend for forty miles, and it is believed that didymo blooms currently extend across more than 100 miles of river.

Didymo blooms are not isolated to the Delaware River. The recent discovery of blooms in the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park has created the potential for further proliferation of didymo.  This invasive species now threatens the rivers and streams of both eastern and western Pennsylvania.

As you know, didymo, an invasive species, threatens to overtake biologically valuable algae already growing in the river. I ask that the Interior Department respond expeditiously, and provide immediate assistance to appropriate State and local entities working to stop the spread of this invasive species.

Didymo has the potential to seriously degrade the fishing, boating and swimming opportunities for Pennsylvanians. Not only would its spread hamper recreation, it would also jeopardize local economies. With an economic impact of over $1.6 billion, Pennsylvania’s fishing industry is vital to the state’s economy. The health of the Delaware River and the Youghiogheny River are connected to the health of the Commonwealth’s economy. It is critical that this issue is addressed immediately.

Didymo thrives in moving water and can form mats eight inches thick. These mats are capable of crowding out native plants and changing the biological conditions of the ecosystem. Often, people transport didymo from one location to another after the plant attaches to fishing equipment, shoes, or even boat propellers. The risk of spread is particularly high right now during trout season. Education on the unintentional spread of didymo is very important to stop its spread.

Swift and effective action is critical to preventing didymo from overtaking Pennsylvania’s waterways. The Interior Department must strengthen its efforts to address the threat of invasive species. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and I look forward to continue working with you.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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