Clearwater Lake to host Chinese Mystery Snail Roundup on July 28
INDUSTRY - Collect snails, win fabulous prizes.
The Clearwater Lake Improvement Association is organizing a roundup of Chinese Mystery Snails, an invasive aquatic species that appeared in the lake roughly 15 years ago, according to Selectman Lee Ireland.
"They seem to be primarily in the southern end of the lake," Ireland said.
The species isn't native to Maine. It's believed the pesky mollusks first arrived in California markets as food in the late 19th century, and were subsequently introduced to different regions of the United States by people dumping aquariums into lakes and streams. Once introduced, the snails can catch a ride on boat hulls or bait buckets and spread rapidly. In addition to competing with native snails for food and space, the aquatic invaders can clog screens and pipes. They also can carry a number of non-native parasites.
Ireland said the association's roundup will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., with a free lunch for participants from noon until 1 p.m. A weigh-in station at the head of the lake will be recording snail size and the total weight of all snails collected, with winning collectors receiving prizes.
Mainely Scuba of Wilton will be assisting the roundup, and contestants should bring goggles and snorkels if they have them, Ireland said. In Clearwater Lake, the Chinese Mystery Snails tend to be found in between knee-deep and 20 feet of water, Ireland said.
"We'll see how many we can get out of the lake," he said. "It should be a fun event."