Each August, for the past six years, volunteers have been surveying the Upper Saranac Watershed for invasive Asian Clams. Although we hope that Asian Clams are not in existence in the watershed, this annual survey determines if they’ve been introduced.
Good news: There are no known infestations of Asian Clam in the Upper Saranac Watershed.
Second to prevention, our best defense against Asian Clams is early detection for the greatest chance of eradication. Left unchecked, Asian Clams can reproduce exponentially and cause negative ecological impacts including algae blooms. Concentrations of Asian Clams have the potential to negatively impact the tourism economy, reduce property values, and hamper recreational activities. Asian Clams have been established in Lake George since 2010. With such close proximity, and its biological characteristics, Asian Clams could easily inhabit the waters of Upper Saranac Lake.
Late discovery of Asian Clams in Lake George has resulted in expenditures of over $1.5 million in efforts to eradicate them. In the unfortunate circumstance that Asian Clams are introduced to Upper Saranac Lake, we want to find out as soon as possible so we can begin eradication efforts and avoid such a cost.
Asian Clams are not native to the United States and were brought here as an unwelcome import. Since then, they have spread through the bait and aquarium trade. Juveniles can be moved around in bait buckets and other areas of a boat that holds water. As with all invasive species, Asian Clams do not have any local competitors that will keep their population in check. A single clam can self-fertilize, reproduce up to twice a year, and can produce 2,000 to 4,000 juveniles per year. Densities can reach up to 6,000 or more clams per square meter.
The Upper Saranac Foundation would like to thank all the volunteers who participated in this and past survey efforts; it’s critical to help ensure identification and potential management of this invasive.