Unfortunately, the Mermentau River system is also home to an exotic aquatic pest — the apple snail.

“They’re in the system and we know about them,” Kinney said.

It is critical that anglers and others kick their pink eggs off cypresses and other structure into the water, where they will die. But don’t handle the eggs or snails with your hands, as they can potentially carry a parasite.

Recent mild winters have aided the snails’ reproductive success, and biologists are very concerned that these pests could destroy nearby rice country, as well as much of the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.

“They can completely wipe out plants in an area, including the marsh,” Kinney said.

“Constantly check your boat and motor if you frequent the Mermentau system,” the biologist said. “We don’t want more spread of this pest anywhere in Louisiana.”