HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Anglers gearing up for the Maryland stream-fishing season can leave their felt-soled waders at home.

On Tuesday, Maryland implements the nation’s first statewide ban on wading boots with soles made of felt in hopes of curbing the spread of certain invasive species.

The prime culprit is didymo, which can cover the bottoms of cold, flowing trout streams with thick mats of algae commonly called “rock snot.”

Researchers say damp felt soles help didymo hitchhike from stream to stream. It’s been found in the Gunpowder Falls and the Savage River.

The Department of Natural Resources says it will initially hand out warnings and information cards to first-time violators. The eventual penalties haven’t been determined.

Similar bans will take effect April 1 in Vermont and next year in Alaska.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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