Cold snap puts the deep freeze on invasive mudsnails

OLYMPIA -- Have you been complaining about the recent cold weather? Well, there may be at least one benefit: This cold, freezing weather could kill off the New Zealand mudsnail population plaguing Olympia's Capitol Lake.

The temperatures have been in the teens at night, and the theory is that the mudsnails will simply die from the cold, the Olympian reported.

The Department of Enterprise Services began draining the lake Tuesday, and a Department of Fish and Wildlife scientist has been inspecting the uncovered shore areas where the tiny mollusks live, the paper reported.

The mudsnail is considered a potential threat to other species because it competes for food such as algae and aquatic insects, the Olympia reported. This week's freezing weather could potentially kill off half or more on the mudsnails, which are the size of a grain of rice.

The area of Capitol Lake with the worst infestation is in the north basin, but the snails have been spreading to other areas of the lake.

The snails were first discovered in the lake in 2009 and no one knows how the snails were transported to the lake.