The state Department of Enterprise Services started emptying Capitol Lake Wednesday night to expose invasive New Zealand mud snails to the expected freezing weather the next few nights.
Exposing the miniscule snails to freezing temperatures should reduce, but won’t eliminate, the snail population first discovered in the lake in October 2009.
The lake has been closed to recreational use for more than two years to protect against the spread of the snail, which can disrupt freshwater habitat.
The New Zealand mud snail was first discovered in the western United States in Idaho in the Snake River in the 1980s. Since then, it has gained a foothold in rivers in 10 states and three national parks.
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Officials expect lake levels to return to normal Dec. 5.
John Dodge, staff writer