Aug 6, 2010 10:07 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New invader in Colorado waterways

First it was zebra mussels, then quagga mussels--now comes a new invader to Colorado lakes and streams--New Zealand mudsnails.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife reports that the aquatic nuisance species was discovered at South Delaney Butte Lake in Jackson County.

"The New Zealand mudsnail competes with our native invertebrate species and can destroy forage important to trout and other native fishes," said Elizabeth Brown, DOW's invasive species coordinator. "So far, we haven't seen huge impacts to our fisheries. But New Zealand mudsnails have the potential to seriously disrupt the aquatic communities that are the foundation of the food web. If mudsnails become numerous enough, they can reduce the availability of nutrients to their point where it harms fish populations."

This is the fourth time New Zealand mudsnails have been found in Colorado. The first was discovered in South Boulder Creek in 2004. Since then, the DOW has confirmed infestations in the South Platte River between Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain reservoirs and in the Green River near the Colorado/Utah border.

"Our primary goal at this point is to keep them from spreading, and for that we need anglers and boaters to take common-sense steps to prevent the transport of mudsnails to other locations," said Brown.

Wader Decontamination/Cleaning Procedures:
Anglers who use waders in New Zealand mudsnail-infested waters should scrub the bottom of waders with a wire brush and remove all mud, plants and organic materials in between each and every use. Anglers should then perform ONE of the following disinfection recommendations before going into the next body of water:

Submerge waders and gear in a large tub filled with 50% Formula 409 and water for at least 10 minutes, scrubbing debris and visually inspecting waders and gear for snails before rinsing. Rinse water must be from a New Zealand mudsnail-free source (to avoid re-infection) and the chemical bath must be properly disposed of away from the water body.

Spray or soak waders and gear with water greater than 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 minutes.

Let waders and equipment completely dry for a minimum of 10 days in between each use (remember that mudsnails can survive several days out of water).

Place waders and boots in a freezer overnight between each use.

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