Invasive snails found in pond

Last week, Washington Lakes Watershed Association was alerted that Chinese mystery snails were found in Washington Pond. Chinese mystery snails, also called Japanese or Oriental mystery snails, are a highly invasive species which interferes with food webs and competes with native snails for food and habitat.

They can transmit parasites and diseases to waterfowl. Chinese mystery snails give birth to live young and quickly form dense colonies, which can clog the screens on water-intake pipes and cause other mischief. They are 100% bad news.

Identifying Chinese mystery snails

Chinese mystery snails are a good size – from 1.5 inches to 2.25 inches in length, from tip of shell to tip of whorl, think walnut-ish. Their shell color is olive green to brown. They have six or seven whorls and no banding. Their operculum (trapdoor) is hard and, when closed, it seals the snail inside its shell where it can survive for at least several days.

Amazingly, they have been documented as living as long as nine weeks out of water. Chinese mystery snails seem to select soft, muddy or sandy bottoms of shallow quiet waters.

These snails are not likely to be misidentified using this description.

How to prevent snail invasions

First, make sure boats, equipment, swim toys and all such items you bring into our waters are free of “passengers,” such as these snails and any other aquatic plants or animals that might be clinging or in the bilge.

Second, if you find Chinese mystery snails, do not transport them to any other location. Gather them into buckets if you can. If you can’t gather them, just leave them alone. Please send an email to wlwassn@gmail.com and state the location and when you spot them; someone will follow up.

Getting rid of Chinese mystery snails

Getting rid of these destructive creatures is very difficult and will require a commitment for the long haul. The recommended way for Washington’s situation primarily is to hand harvest them into buckets and kill them. It’s imperative to make sure they will not survive to reproduce. They will dry out without water, but that can take a long time. Crushing them will kill them, also, but be aware that they stink extravagantly.

One resource suggests putting them in strong plastic bags, sealing the bags securely and putting the bags in the trash. Here, TriCounty sends our bagged trash to Eco-Maine, which incinerates it although the process can take a lot of time.

According to the Maine DEP, they can be composted live in a really specific manner that would ensure death, contain the smell and come up with a useful end product. Watch our Facebook page for the method and more updates at facebook.com/washingtonmaine.lakesassociation.

The urgent, important, necessary response to these snail colonies is to make sure they are not introduced to any other areas. So far, they seem to be in the southern end of the lake.

Also, please watch for posters around town and on the town website with details about these snails.

Soccer sign-ups

Washington soccer is open to both boys and girls. Pre-K-2 soccer sign ups are Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Bryant Room of Gibbs Library.

Washington residents will pay $5 per child; $10 non-residents: $10 per child. Weekly practice will be in the outfield of the Clyde Sukeforth Field at Prescott School. Saturday games will be in Warren. T-shirt and medals for all participants. No refunds are available after the T-shirts and medals are ordered.

Once again, there is uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. All sports will be held in accordance to COVID-19 protocol as per Maine Principal Association guidelines.

Ruohomaa photos, supper, wine party, oh my!

Our little town is getting the coming season off to a good start with three events all held Saturday, Sept. 11.

First is Washington Historical Society’s Heritage Day to be held at The Old Town House and Razorville Hall on Razorville Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guest speaker is Kevin Johnson from Penobscot Marine Museum, which houses the renowned collection of historic 1948 Kosti Huohomaa photos of the Washington area.

His talk is at 10 a.m. Other activities include the famous pie contest (entries due at 9 a.m.) and views of the extensive collection of items in the society’s collection and more. Everyone is urged to come see the fabulous “old things” that tell our town’s story.

There will be a public turkey supper at Evening Star Grange Sept. 4, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for a really full, filling and delicious Grange-made meal.

Gibbs Library is holding a fundraiser at Sweetgrass Winery at 6 p.m. featuring cocktails, nibbles, music and a silent auction. Special treat is a “literary cocktail,” created especially for this event. Tickets at the door, the library or at brownpapertickets.com at $20 per person.

Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!