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

River draining operations will conclude on Sunday, Jan. 21

Over 2,000 apple snails were relocated collected from the San Antonio River during a recent draining operation. (San Antonio River Authority)

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

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

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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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About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.

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