April 7, 2023
Hatchery closure precaution taken after invasive mudsnails detected in creek 3 miles downstream
YOUNG, Ariz. – The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnails, an aquatic invasive species, in lower Canyon Creek approximately 3 miles downstream of Canyon Creek Hatchery.
AZGFD closed the hatchery on April 6 as a precautionary measure as department staff continue to conduct surveys in the area to determine the extent of infestation. The closure will also provide AZGFD with time to enhance biosecurity protocols and evaluate actions that could further bolster biosecurity at the hatchery.
The New Zealand mudsnail is an invasive snail that is ovoviviparous (live bearing) and parthenogenic (reproduces asexually). Therefore, it only takes one snail to start a new population.
These snails were first found in Arizona in 2002 in the Colorado River below Lake Powell in Lees Ferry, and then progressively moved downstream through the Grand Canyon and into Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. In 2019, they were detected in AZGFD’s Page Springs Hatchery. They have also been detected in Oak Creek, the lower Verde River below Bartlett Dam, and the lower Salt River at Granite Reef.
New Zealand mudsnails are a concern because they compete with native invertebrates for food, posing potential harm to Arizona’s native and sportfish populations, as well as native mollusks.