LAKE GEORGE — Asian clams have been found at four new sites around Lake George, but their prolific reproduction and the limited financial resources of a lake agency prevents their total eradication.
The Lake George Park Commission on Wednesday announced that the invasive species was found at Tea Island Bay, Cramer Point and Lake George Club in Lake George and at Braley Point in Bolton. This brings the total number of known sites to 23, according to the report.
Clams were also found to have returned to a spot near Roger’s Rock Campground, where 2015 treatment was thought to have eradicated them.
Commission Executive Director David Wick said it was not a surprise to find the clams in these new sites, given their proximity to other known locations.
On the bright side, the clams seem to go in a boom and bust cycle, where the densities in a location will get really high and then the population will crash.
“They’re a warm water species, so cold water really decimates it,” he said.
The Asian clams have not had a substantial effect on the lake, Wick said.
“We haven’t seen any recreational water quality impacts of significance yet,” he said.
The commission has spent over $2 million in an effort to eradicate Asian clams. However, he said it is not feasible because the species can reproduce so rapidly. For example, he said there could be a million clams at Shelving Rock Bay and all but 1,000 could die.
Ninety-six percent of the clams at a certain site could die and the site would be repopulated, according to Wick.
“Each individual clam can spawn thousands of new clams,” he said.
The Tea Island Bay site is about a half-mile north of the English Brook delta, an already known Asian clam site. About one to three clams per collection sieve were found on average.
Clams were also discovered in the majority of the small beaches on the south side of Cramer Point, which is about 0.3 miles north of the state Hearthstone Point campground beach.
Another site is Braley Point on the beach of the Summer Wind Lodge, about one-third of a mile north of Veterans Park Beach in Bolton Landing.
One Asian clam was found at the beach at Lake George Club, according to the report.
The commission has used benthic mats in the past to smother the clams. However, Wick said it is cost-prohibitive to try to eradicate all of the clams, which costs about $80,000 per acre.
The report notes that no Asian clams were discovered at the Rogers Rock campground in the town of Hague last year, following a $100,000 eradication effort the previous year. But the clams have returned in 2017.
Wick said research continues on use of the Chaetogaster worm as a natural predator to the clams. The worm was discovered by scientists at the Darrin Freshwater Institute. However, it is a long way off for a practical application.
Lake George Association spokesman Pat Dowd said his organization is reminding boaters to be vigilant about potential inadvertent transporting of clams.
“When they pull their anchor up, make sure their rope is completely clean, their anchor is completely clean,” he said.
The LGA has provided funding for eradication efforts.