Hopefully you are aware that Aquatic Invasive Species are a threat to local water bodies and natural lands. This week is New York State Invasive species awareness week, so there is no better time to learn more than the present. One new species of concern is the Chinese Mystery Snail. It was discovered recently in Melody Lake, located near the town of Willet. They were likely released from aquariums into the Niagara River in the 1940s, but this is the first time they have been found in Cortland County. This is an example of why you should never release exotic pets, including plants, into local waterways. Because of their abundance, their shells litter shorelines and become a nuisance to people who just want to enjoy the lake. This snail is invasive, outcompeting local snails and disrupting aquatic food chains. These invertebrates also carry  parasites that are a threat to fish and waterfowl. There are currently no chemical control options that could kill the snails without harming other lake inhabitants, so prevention is crucial. To stop these snails from traveling to other water bodies in the area, boaters should remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry their water craft. This means cleaning off visible plants and mud, draining live wells, bilge, and bait containers onto dry land away from water, and then allowing the boat and all fishing gear to dry, or use a towel to get remaining water. These steps make sure aquatic invasives like the mystery snails (full sized adults and their tiny larvae) are not surviving transport from one recreation spot to another.  By taking a little extra time before you go out on the water you can prevent these snails from coming to a favorite lake near you. To find out more about how these snails and other tiny aquatic invasive species can be transported, there is a free presentation by Dr. Kim Shultz of SUNY ESF about what her research team found on and in boats in the 2019 season. It is this Friday, June 12th, from 1-2pm. Click here to register.