Faucet snails have been discovered in Bowstring Lake in northern Itasca County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today. DNR wildlife staff made the initial discovery in late October. Further testing confirmed samples taken from the lake are faucet snails.

Boaters and waterfowlers who use the Bowstring Lake are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic snails, plants and mud from their boats, trailers, anchors and other equipment.

The lake will be designated as an infested water and the public accesses will be signed to alert boaters.

Faucet snails were discovered in Lake Winnibigoshish in 2008, after an extensive die-off of scaup in 2007. Waterfowl die-offs continue on Lake Winnibigoshish, but in fewer numbers in recent years. Sick and dying scaup have been located on Bowstring and Round lakes, but faucet snails were not detected in those lakes until this recent discovery in Bowstring Lake.

Faucet snails have not yet been detected in Round Lake.

The faucet snail, an aquatic snail native to Europe, was introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1870s. The snail is an intermediate host for four different intestinal trematodes, or flukes, that cause death in waterfowl, particularly, scaup and coots.

When waterfowl consume the infected snails, the adult trematodes attack the internal organs and cause lesions and hemorrhage. Infected birds appear lethargic and have difficulty diving and flying before eventually dying. Faucet snails also compete with native snails, and may clog water intake pipes and other submerged equipment.

There is no evidence that other wildlife besides waterfowl, including any fish species, are adversely affected by the trematodes present in faucet snails. Fish from faucet snail infested lakes can be eaten, but any ducks or other birds that appear sick should not be consumed.

More information about faucet snail identification, infested waters, how to inspect water equipment, and a current infested waters list are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/invasives/aquaticanimals/faucet_snail/index.html or www.mndnr.gov/invasives/index_aquatic.html.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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