- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Officials say an invasive snail species has turned up in part of the Au Sable River in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

The state Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday that New Zealand mud snails were discovered in the river’s east branch near Grayling.

The tiny snails can reproduce prolifically and cluster in high densities. They compete with native snails and other organisms for food and space, potentially disrupting aquatic food chains that are important to fish.

Scientists will begin surveying the Au Sable and other Michigan rivers this month to determine how far the New Zealand mud snail has spread. It was found last year in the Pere Marquette River near Baldwin.

Officials say anglers can help prevent spread by thoroughly cleaning gear, waders, boats and other equipment between uses.

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