Biologists will drain two small ponds at the Jackson County Sports Park in an effort to eradicate invasive snails and plants, specifically Chinese mystery snails and Brazilian elodea.
“Our concern is that the ponds drain into irrigation canals that connect seasonally with nearby streams that flow into Denman Wildlife Area ponds and, eventually, the Rogue River,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species coordinator. “Once invasive species spread, they are hard—if not impossible—to get rid of.”
Both the snails and plants were probably put into the ponds by people dumping contents of home aquariums. Because of their detrimental effect on native snails and their penchant for clogging water pipes, mystery snails are prohibited in Oregon; they are illegal to possess, sell, buy or trade. Brazilian elodea is a plant native to South American that is often used in aquariums. When released, it spreads rapidly, covering a water body in mats that interfere with fishing, swimming and boating and degrade fish habitat.
“The primary goal is to stop these exotics now and protect Oregon’s native fish and wildlife species,” said Dan Van Dyke, ODFW District Fish biologist. “We also hope to provide a nice fishing pond at this site that everyone can enjoy, but that depends on our ability to eliminate the invasive species.”
The public can help as well. “Never release pets or move fish around,” said Boatner. “If you see someone illegally releasing fish or dumping fish tanks, write down any available information and report it.”
A tip line for wildlife violations is listed in both the fishing and hunting regulations at (800) 452-7888.
ODFW biologists are working on the project in conjunction with Jackson County Parks.