Spiny Waterflea Spreads to Lake George

Found in Lake George in August, the spiny waterflea now has a direct connection to Lake Champlain via the Lachute River. Photo by Katie Feil of the USGS.

The spiny waterflea, an invasive plankton species, was found in Lake George in early August. The species was found from at least four different locations in the lake in both the South Basin and in northern stretches. Now they have a direct connection to Lake Champlain from Lake George via the LaChute River.

Spiny waterfleas were first discovered when an angler brought specimens to the Darrin Freshwater Institute. Officials estimate that the spiny waterflea may have been in Lake George a year or two before they were detected.

In July, spiny waterfleas were found in the Champlain Canal prompting LCC and others to call for its closure. While it may now be too late to stop the spread of spiny waterfleas, there are many other invasive species ready to utilize the canal as a means of reaching Lake Champlain. Options exist to close the canal and still accommodate boat traffic. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has secured federal funds for New York to design and implement invasive species barriers for the canal but the money has gone unspent for years. The New York Canal Corporation has shown no willingness to address the problem. Click here to send them a message to act. For further background, read On Closing the Champlain Canal.