I agree with you that felt with studs is better than rubber with studs. State fish and wildlife employees, EMTs, and federal employees such a the forest service that enter the water also want to continue to use felt.
Vermont has banned felt boots but if you investigate the law, it exempt state and federal employees. They can continue to wear felt.
"Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 4616 is added to read: § 4616. FELT-SOLED BOOTS AND WADERS; USE PROHIBITED
It is unlawful to use external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders in the waters of Vermont, except that a state or federal employee or emergency personnel, including fire, law enforcement, and EMT personnel, may use external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders in the discharge of official duties.
The proposed Montana law does the same. I have read that the reason this died in committee was because government employees wanted the security of felt soles and lawmakers could not agree that this was fair to the public.
"NEW SECTION.**Section 2.**Use of felt-soled boots and waders prohibited.
(1) A person may not use external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders in the waters of the state.
(2) The possession of external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders on the banks or shores of a stream or lake or in a boat, raft, canoe, or other water vessel is prima facie evidence that the person or persons in whose possession the boots or waders are found were using the boots or waders in the waters of the state.
(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to a state or federal employee or emergency personnel, including fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical technicians, using external felt-soled boots or external felt-soled waders when acting within the scope of duty.
Furthermore, I can post research that shows dydimo does not damage trout populations, or the available biomass of food. It actually INCREASES the biomass of both large and small invertebrates
. I have not read any research that shows trout populations have suffered. Invasives by themselves are undesirable, but the assumption is that didymo decreases the trout population or invertebrate mass that has not been demonstrated.
"Didymo effects on river invertebrates: not as bad as feared?"
Didymo effects on river invertebrates: not as bad as feared? | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
"Preliminary research by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) had shown that high didymo biomass was associated with a greater density of invertebrate life
in affected rivers, although the proportion of smaller invertebrates was greater. This qualification is important for trout, because the smaller their individual prey, the greater the energy they have to invest in feeding on them. This energy demand could limit trout growth and affect the health of the fishery as a whole.
Nevertheless, even though the research showed that there was a higher proportion of small invertebrates, the greater density all round meant that even the larger invertebrates that trout prefer were also more abundant at sites affected by didymo.
The assumption has been that Dydimo is BAD for trout. But there is NO research that I have been able to find that shows this to be true.
Didymo effects on river invertebrates: not as bad as feared? | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
Turning over small stones: Didymosphenia geminata
"A review of information on the impacts of didymo on trout indicates that there is currently no scientific evidence available demonstrating negative effects on trout population parameters (abundance and growth). Moreover, there is no scientific evidence available from anglers on the effects of didymo on trout catch rates and size. The negative impacts on trout and salmon fishing, indicated from anecdotal reports from anglers, are aesthetic, fouling of fishing lures, and the inconvenience of having to clean fishing gear and boots.”
"The researchers found that, in the didymo-affected rivers, the invertebrate drift density and biomass was actually highest at the sites with intermediate (in autumn) and highest (in winter) levels of didymo biomass. But the survey also confirmed that the invertebrate biomass contained a higher proportion of smaller species than is usually found in non-affected rivers, an effect that was more pronounced where volumes of didymo were higher.
While this effect was observed, the researchers said that, based on bioenergetics modeling, their results did not show that didymo affected invertebrate drift enough to negatively affect growth potential of drift-feeding brown trout.
This is encouraging news for anglers, but the Cawthron Institute researchers said that their results had to be interpreted with caution, because they were based on sampling in autumn and winter only, and limited to three sites."
Finally, these laws do not work
. This has been demonstrated in New Zealand. Dydimo continues to spread and Biosecutity New Zealand admits that it will continue to spread.
Didymo confirmed in Waimakariri River | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
""The find is very disappointing and significant as the Waimakariri is a popular river for many recreational activities in the region."
Didymo Found In Three More Tasman Rivers | Voxy.co.nz
Didymo found in three more Tasman rivers: Media release 6 May 2010
"Didymo has been found in three more Nelson-Tasman rivers this year but there have been no new finds of the pest algae in Marlborough and Kaikoura waterways."
Didymo found in the Upper Rangitata: Media release 16 October 2009
"Routine testing of high conservation value freshwater sites has found didymo in the Upper Rangitata River.
This find has disappointed Department of Conservation (DOC), Fish and Game and the local community.
Despite there being infestations close by in the Rangitata Gorge, these upper sites had tested negative since regular didymo testing began two years ago.
The Peel Forest and Rangitata gorge community have put a huge effort into preventing didymo from spreading into these areas so far."
If it can't work there, what is is the likely hood it can work here? The inconvenient truth is that rubber soles will delay, but not prevent the spread of didymo in the more heavily used rivers of the USA.
Because of the heavier use of rivers in the USA vs New Zealand and poor enforcement, I would expect a faster spread even with rubber soles.
Even the New Zealand Biosecurity Agency says that there is no way to stop Dydimo or eradicate Dydimo:
"Can I receive a fine if I spread didymo?
Didymo has been declared to be an Unwanted Organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993. It is an offence to knowingly spread an Unwanted Organism with penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment, and/ or a fine of up to $100,000.
Will didymo continue to spread to rivers throughout New Zealand?
Yes. Didymo will likely continue to spread to unaffected areas within New Zealand.
Research on the environmental variables which control didymo's growth (water depth and flow rate, nutrients, light, invertebrate grazing, etc.) has helped identify which habitats and locations it is most likely to establish. Ongoing passive and active surveillance will help determine rate and range of spread.* Human activities are considered the most likely source of spread of didymo between rivers and catchments."
Can didymo be eradicated in New Zealand?
No. Eradicating any microscopic organism from a natural environment is virtually impossible, especially in an aquatic environment.
We know of no systematic attempts to eradicate invasive blooms of didymo. This is likely because of its widespread distribution and because in a number of countries it is considered a native species.
While we work to understand more about the physical, chemical and biological factors which control didymo, our efforts will continue to be focused on reducing the spread from known affected river systems."
FAQs related to Didymo | MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
The USA has a population of over 300 million and New Zealand has just over 4 million. We have 100 million sport fishers, NZ has 1 million.
New Zealand has the most rigid laws (The fine for spreading Dydimo is 5 years in Prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine) to prevent dydimo spread and yet it continues to spread. Dydimo has spread to other areas in every year since it was discovered in 2004 and restrictions were placed in 2005.
We have 300 times the population, small fines and no jail time; and yet there are those that believe that rubber soles will stop the spread of dydimo. Clearly that ignores the evidence.
Spread is inevitable. The question then is whether the extra cost and risk of injury is worth any delay that may result.
What we do know is that anglers are voting with their $$$ that felt is safer than rubber
( Simms Plans About-Face on Felt | Angling Trade
). We know that even high fines and jail cannot stop the spread of Dydimo. We know that studies of Dydimo and trout show that trout populations are not decreased.
So the facts are:
1. State and Federal Employees refuse to use rubber soles because they are less safe.
2. Therefore these laws place anglers at risk.
3. Dydimo does not decrease but has been shown to increase invertebrate biomass where it has been studies in NZ.
4. Trout populations are not harmed.
5. Biosecurity of NZ admits their laws cannot stop the spread of dydimo and this fact has been demonstrated by continued spread despite high fines and jail time.
6. Therefore, spread in the USA is inevitable despite law requiring rubber soles.
Fact 2 and 6 indicate we are risking angler injury, permanent disability, and death for a modest delay in dydimo spread. Fact #3 indicates that anglers may be disabled or die for an organism that does not decrease or damage the invertebrate or fish populations.