RENO, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Department of Wildlife officials say a nonnative snail discovered in the Truckee River around Reno earlier this year exists in greater numbers than expected.
Department fisheries biologist Chris Crookshanks says surveys completed Wednesday show New Zealand mudsnails are established along an 18-mile stretch of the river from Reno to Mustang east of Sparks.
Officials in May said they could only confirm the snail's existence in a one-mail stretch of the river near Reno.
Crookshanks told the Reno Gazette-Journal the snails have the potential to greatly alter the river's ecosystem and harm its trout fishery.
He says densities found in some areas were unexpected and suggest the snails have been in the river for some time. Officials originally speculated the infestation was relatively recent.
Department of Wildlife officials will meet Aug. 7 with representatives of other agencies to determine the next course of action.
Among other steps, they'll consider plans to establish decontamination stations and to launch a public education campaign notifying the public what it can do to prevent the spread of the snails.