Bellingham, WA – The City of Bellingham and Whatcom County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program staff have recently discovered invasive New Zealand Mudsnails (Potamophrgus antipodarum) in Lake Padden and are working to determine the extent of the infestation and develop a long-term response plan.
To prevent the spread of this prohibited species to other water bodies, AIS staff urge anyone coming into contact with Lake Padden to inspect and carefully clean all clothing, gear, and watercraft, prior to leaving the lake area. Clean, Drain and Dry any watercraft after use and thoroughly brush-off any debris from waders, boots, gear, and any equipment that came into contact with lake water, then rinse with clean water. Additionally, pet owners are advised to limit their pets’ exposure and clean pets thoroughly after contact with the lake.
Bellingham and Whatcom County AIS staff periodically monitor Whatcom County lakes for any evidence of new aquatic invasive species; as a result, New Zealand mudsnails were detected at Lake Padden in late August. Their identity was confirmed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and a taxonomic expert on Sept. 10. This is the first confirmed sighting of this aquatic invasive species in Whatcom County. According to WDFW, the first discovery in Washington state happened in 2002 in the Lower Columbia River estuary, and while the number of infested sites within the state is rising, it is still fewer than 20 areas.