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Freeze is on for invasive mud snails at Capitol Lake

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Nov. 30, 2011

OLYMPIA – In a continuing effort to control the spread of New Zealand mud snails, an invasive species, officials at the Department of Enterprise Services began emptying Capitol Lake on Nov. 30.

By exposing the lake bed to freezing temperatures over the next few days, lake managers expect to reduce the population of the non-native snails.

The freeze will not eliminate mud snails from the lake. However, carefully monitored results from a freeze in 2009 showed that drawing down the lake in cold and dry conditions can be an effective control measure. Officials expect lake levels to return to normal by Dec. 5.

The tiny invasive New Zealand mud snail was first found in Capitol Lake in October 2009. The lake has remained closed to all uses to protect against the spread of the destructive snail.

In the past two years the lake has been drawn down to expose the snail to freezing temperatures and it has been flushed with marine waters from Budd Inlet to help control the pest’s spread.

The New Zealand mud snail was first discovered in the mid-Snake River, Idaho, in the 1980s. It is now rapidly spreading throughout the western United States and has become established in rivers in 10 states and three national parks.

Enterprise Services is responsible for maintaining the Capitol Campus, which includes the 260-acre Capitol Lake.

Contacts

Steve Valandra, Communications Director
Enterprise Services
360 407 9211
360 791 4454
Steve.valandra@des.wa.gov

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