The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, environmentalists and policitians are releasing the results of an assessment of the extent of the New Zeland mud snail infestation in Los Angeles County waters.

The results will be released at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 19th, at the Del Rey Yacht Club, 13900 Palawan Way, Marina del Rey. Admission is free.

Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay and UCLA joined the commission in conducting the study.

At the conference will be Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss, commission chair; Mark Gold, Heal the Bay’s executive director; Tracy Egoscue, from Santa Monica Baykeeper; Santa Monica City Councilman Richard Bloom and Don Wolfe, head of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.

The New Zealand mud snail has been called an ecological disaster in the making because mud snails can completely cover a stream bed, crowding out the native aquatic insects that provide food for native creek animals.

The California Department of Fish and Game verified on May 30th that the mud snails were found in the Malibu Creek Watershed, which is especially troublesome because the watershed is home to two endangered fish species — the steelhead trout and the tidewater goby.

Mud snails rapidly reproduce. A single snail can result in a colony of more than 40 million snails in just one year.

They can be transported on wet boots, clothing, sports gear pets, horses and bikes. They can spread from one stream to another.

Once a creek or stream has been invaded by mud snails, the invasion is irreversible. There is no known way to eradicate mud snails once they have been found in body of waters.

The commission plans to post hundreds of warning signs locally.

A new Web site, www.mud snails.com, is being unveiled that provides information and tells people what they can do to stem the infestation in Southern California’s lakes and streams.

Information, (213) 276-6805 or (310) 451-1500.

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