The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of an aquatic invasive species called the Chinese mysterysnail in Voyageurs National Park.
The DNR collected the snails from Kabetogama Lake in September and identified them as Chinese mysterysnails in October.
The invasive species poses a few threats to the ecosystem it inhabits as they can out-compete native species. The snails can also become hosts to parasites that, when eaten by waterfowl, can be deadly, though Voyageurs National Park aquatic ecologist, Ryan Maki said the park hasn't observed any signs of that happening.
It's unknown whether the snail exists in other lakes throughout the park, but Maki said the chances are likely since Lake Kabetogama is in a connected chain of lakes and distribution of the invasive species is already widespread in Minnesota.
"I do plan to go check for it in some other park lakes next year," Maki said.
Once the species is established in a lake, there is no viable management option to get rid of it, according to a Voyageurs National Park news release.
Discovery of the invasive species is a reminder to boaters and fishers to follow the state aquatic invasive species laws to avoid further spread, Maki said. That means cleaning, draining and drying watercraft equipment before leaving a water access site.
Anglers must dispose of bait in the trash instead of releasing bait into a waterbody. In order to keep bait, anglers must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water and not water from a waterbody.