SAN DIEGO — What looks like pink clumps of tiny fish eggs, are sprinkled all around Lake Murray. CBS 8 began looking into what the pink eggs could be.
A person posted the pictures on a La Mesa community Facebook page wondering what it is that’s sticking to reeds and at the base of trees all around the water.
CBS 8 contacted the City of San Diego because they manage Lake Murray, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to get scientific answers.
Luis and Maria Lopez were at the dock at Lake Murray and they said they thought the pink blobs were part of the reed. “It looks like a flower,” said Maria.
Luis said, “Some kind of fungus.” Luis started to touch one clump before Maria stopped him.
One fisherman said he's seen these blobs around the lake dock every year. He said, ‘It looks like bubble gum all stuck to it.”
Channeled Apple Snails
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Channeled Apple Snails lay the goopy masses.
Each cluster has 200-600 bright pink eggs. The snails are an invasive species from South America.
A serious threat to crops
They have the potential to become a serious agricultural pest. CDFW said if they become more widespread in California, the snails could threaten the rice crops in California’s Central Valley.
The snails are also voracious consumers of aquatic plants and can impact wetlands and other freshwater ecosystems.
They can also be found in Lake Miramar and the Miramar Reservoir. They were confirmed in Lake Murray in 2015. They’re also now in several California counties and other states like Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and Idaho.
Where did they come from?
CDFW said the Channeled Apple Snail is an aquatic animal. And while they don’t know exactly how they got into Lake Murray, it’s likely someone dumped the unwanted contents of an aquarium into the water.
“We urge the public not to release unwanted pets (even snails!) for this very reason, as well as to clean, drain and dry any equipment used in a waterway before moving to another waterway,” CDFW said.
The snails can also potentially transmit Rat Lungworm. It’s a disease that can cause a deadly form of Meningitis.
What is the City of San Diego doing about the potentially dangerous snail that’s reproducing by the thousands? Nothing.
Here’s the statement the city sent this afternoon:
"The Channeled Apple Snails have been at Lake Murray for several years. The City’s team of biologists have observed these snails over time and concluded that the snails have no impact on drinking water quality.”
To learn more about California waterways with the Channeled Apple Snails click here.
California Department of Fish & Wildlife Information about the snail species has more information on their website.
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