Live from the Field: Apple Snail removal at Eldorado Community Fishing Lake
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are unwanted non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. AIS are one of the largest threats to our freshwater ecosystems and include plants, animals, and pathogens. One invasive species found in Arizona is the Apple snail. This species, among others, is listed as an Aquatic Invasive Species under the AZ Game and Fish Director’s Orders (A.R.S. § 17-255).
Apple snails were first discovered in the Lower Colorado River near Yuma and in the Lower Salt River near the Verde River confluence in 2011. In the last couple of years, Apple snails have spread into our community fishing lakes around Mesa and Scottsdale. An aquarium pet release is the most likely method of an Apple snail introduction in Arizona. The AZ Game and Fish Department has had many eradication events in an attempt to rid our community fishing lakes of the new infestation of Apple snail, the most recent of which occurred at Eldorado Community Fishing Lake. The crew removed adult snails found in the water and knocked down or destroyed any egg masses (bright pink clusters) attached to any hard surfaces.
Due to potential impacts of invasive species, it is illegal to release any pet into the wild. General characteristics of invasive species include:
Ability to reproduce quickly and prolifically,
Ability to adapt and survive in a wide variety of conditions,
Lack of predators to control populations,
Ability to outcompete native or desirable aquatic organisms.
Once AIS invade a waterbody, various negative impacts can occur within that water including:
Loss or decreases in native or desirable fish and other aquatic organisms,
Loss of habitat for native or desirable aquatic organisms,
Major economic impacts from increased maintenance and control expenses,
Decreased property values when aquatic invaders become abundant,
Decreased recreational opportunities through closed waterways, health hazards, AIS clogged waterways and loss of sport fisheries.
For more information on AIS please visit www.azgfd.gov/ais.
Clean, Drain and Dry your Boat