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To The Editor:
Last week's Valley Reporter had an excellent article by Lizzy Hewitt about the discovery of didymo, aka rock snot, an invasive algae in the Mad River. Thanks for the great reporting.
As the week has progressed I have found that people are having mixed reactions to the news from outrage to deep sadness and resignation. I am going to opt for curiosity. Like many others, my first reaction was, how did it get here? I wanted to blame someone, but that hasn't proved useful or helpful. Most people I have talked to are more than savvy about didymo from the articles in The Valley Reporter last year, the signs that Trout Unlimited and Friends of the Mad River put up along the river, and from our display at the Farmers' Market last year and from the general media.
From the questions I have heard, I wanted to stress a few points. We don't know how or when (last year? earlier?) didymo came to the Mad River. A duck or otter could have brought it as easily as an uneducated fisherman, swimmer or boater. Even microscopic amounts of didymo can infect a new area.
Please don't move didymo upstream. Let's not spread it further into our own watershed and certainly not into others. That means don't go swimming, boating or fishing where it is, or anywhere downstream of where it is showing, and then go upstream or into any tributaries.
Right now we can see didymo from Warren Village to the Lareau swim hole. Didymo likes healthy, cool mountain streams. Please don't spread it with your bathing suit, your swim tube, your waders or your dog by going upstream to Warren Falls, for example, or to a tributary like Austin Brook, without first cleaning yourself and your equipment properly.
Stay curious. Come to the Farmers' Market on July 26 to the Friends of the Mad River display and learn more about didymo. Learn how to most effectively clean yourself and your equipment so it doesn't spread. Pick up a didymo warning sign to put up on your riparian land. Share your concerns and ideas with us. And learn about river dynamics from the flume that will be set up. Please join Friends of the Mad River and help us keep each other informed.
Thanks and keep the information flowing.
Kinny Perot, Warren, president
Friends of the Mad River