San Antonio River Authority collects over 2,000 invasive snails during River Walk draining

SAN ANTONIO – A snail species that can grow to the size of a softball has been successfully moved out of the San Antonio River.

During draining portions of the River Walk between Jan. 12-14, San Antonio River Authority (SARA) biologists collected and relocated 2,000 Apple snails to other parts of the river.

Biologists first located the snails in the Museum Reach section of the River Walk in October 2019. The species is considered destructive and invasive, per the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Invasive, Prohibited and Exotics species list.

“The maintenance work and biological efforts ensure a healthy ecological environment.” Chris Vaughn, watershed monitoring supervisor at SARA said.

The snail species — while native to South America — threaten the San Antonio River ecosystem because they do not have natural predators in the river and can rapidly reproduce, according to SARA.

Apple snails can avoid the elements, such as hard freezes, by burrowing into the river’s banks and sediment bottoms.

“Removing invasive species allows native fish to thrive, fostering a sustainable ecosystem for the benefit of both wildlife and local communities,” Vaughn said.

River draining operations will conclude on Sunday, Jan. 21, a city news release said.

For more on how SARA mitigates the apple snail population, click here.

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