BOLTON ♦ Peter Bauer nodded in satisfaction as Jeremy Parnapy reported a major clam die-off to the south of Sandy Lane Beach.
“There were hundreds of dead clams,” said Parnapy, who was coordinating efforts Tuesday morning to remove more than 800 mats from the bottom of Boon Bay.
“Good-good-good,” said Bauer, executive director of the Fund for Lake George, which is overseeing the project to wipe out the Asian clams in Lake George.
Work to pull up the benthic mats, designed to suffocate entire colonies of clams, will be finished by July 11, but it won’t be the end of the effort in Boon Bay, Bauer said. There are also at least four other locations around the lake where the fight against Asian clams continues, and benthic mats are the weapon of choice there, as well.
Some dead clams could be seen on the bottom of the lake in Boon Bay Tuesday. But another 76 benthic mats — measuring 50 by 7.5 feet — had already been replaced in the bay after other colonies were pinpointed, Bauer said. The mats will remain in place until mid-August.
Also in August, a new survey of the lake bottom will begin, an effort that will take up to seven weeks.
“We want to be done by Columbus Day so we know where to start on fall treatments,” Bauer said.
The work in Boon Bay prompted a lowering of the speed limit to 5 mph to make sure boat traffic didn’t damage or displace the mats, which are held onto the lake bottom by steel rebar and sand bags.
Bauer said this year’s work is fully funded, thanks in large part to $200,000 from the Lake George Park Commission, $100,000 in state funding that’s expected to arrive in the fall, and a private challenge grant for $100,000 that has been funded mainly by landowners around Boon Bay.
“We think we’ll have the minimum amount we’ll need for the fall installation,” Bauer said. “We’re always looking for new sources, though, because we have nothing going into 2013.”
The benthic barriers are effective at killing Asian clam colonies, but they have to be used on the spring/fall cycle for two to four years in order to have a chance at eradication.
The Asian clam is hermaphroditic, meaning just one is capable of reproducing.
“If there are any interruptions in treatment, you lose ground astronomically,” Bauer said Tuesday, as he watched a crew from Aquatic Endeavors out of Manchester, Vt., remove mats from around docks and boats at Chelka Lodge on the west shore of Boon Bay.
Judy Forshay, who with her husband, Dave, owns the lodge, said removal of the benthic mats was welcome, although their presence didn’t hurt her business too badly.
“Our guests have been patient and cooperative, and they were concerned about the lake, as well” she said. “I’ve heard no complaints. We really did make the best out of a bad situation.”