It was a sunny, crisp October morning. The rainy grey mist from the week before had cleared to reveal a stunning panorama of mountains, lake, and sand. On a beach just north of Burlington a group of volunteers, bundled in warm layers against the morning chill, were ranged in a staggered line. Those with muck boots waded through the shallow water, while the others walked along the shoreline. Every few paces each stopped to kneel and scoop up sand in a small steel sieve. They then shook away the sand, as if panning for gold, examined the contents briefly – and discarded them.
It was a search for the Asian clam, an invasive species on the verge of entering Lake Champlain. In an effort to detect invaders early, the Lake Champlain Committee teamed up with Magic Hat Brewery and Arrowwood Environmental in October 2018 to survey Burlington beaches. Using their sieves, volunteers combed the shoreline of Leddy Beach, North Beach, and Blanchard Beach for the invasive mollusk. Luckily, for this year at least, they didn’t find them.
Volunteers are vital to preventing the spread of invasive species in Lake Champlain, and LCC is grateful to everyone who came out this October!
LCC and Magic Hat will be teaming up again in the warmer months to continue the search for Asian clam. Learn more about how you can get involved in future Asian clam assessments, and other areas of invasive species management, by signing up to be an LCC volunteer! Be sure to check the box for “Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring and Harvesting”.