This week at Valley Forge we spent a part of our day working with the park service catching rusty crayfish. They are invasive crayfish that if not removed will eliminate the invasive species and effect other living species in that environment. The entire field team, supervisors and park staff went into the water with waders and nets and went up stream with the nets turning over the rocks in the water and allowing the current of the water to flow any crayfish into the net behind the rock. Whenever someone caught a native crayfish the catcher had to go farther down stream behind everyone in the water to release so no one caught the same crayfish twice. A lot of other creatures were caught during this project such as small fish, a trout, salamander, and insects in the water. The Park tries to keep the rusty invasive crayfish down to 10% and my group caught 125 native species and 10 invasive. The park was happy with the amount we found because it means there’s a low percentage of invasive crayfish.
Rusty crayfish can be identified by the black circle at the tip of the claw or the rusty colored spots on both sides of the crayfish.
Originally from the Ohio River Basin, the rusty crayfish was spread by people who used them as pets and bait for fishing.
we all enjoyed this project because it was fun and we spent time in the shade in the cold water.