More invasive species in Yellowstone area waters

More invasive species in Yellowstone area waters

An invasive species has been found in the waters of a Montana fish hatchery in the Yellowstone region this month. New Zealand mud snails were discovered earlier this month at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park’s Bluewater State Fish Hatchery south of Laurel west of Billings.

To eliminate the threat of further spread, nearly all of the rainbow trout and largemouth bass at the facility will be destroyed. New Zealand mud snails are an aquatic invasive species found in a variety of waterbodies across Montana.

The snails have the ability to expand in population size and in distribution very rapidly, potentially changing the ecology of waterbodies where they are located. Once established in waterbodies, they are hard, if not impossible to eradicate.

The snails were discovered at the Bluewater Hatchery in 2020 and the hatchery was quarantined then and decontaminated. The source of the new infestation is unknown, although Fish, Wildlife and Parks staff believe cracks in older concrete tanks might have allowed mud snails from the previous infestation to survive decontamination.

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