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DNR Surveying For Invasive Rusty Crayfish
EMMITSBURG, MD —Partnering with Hood College and the University of Maryland Appalachian Laboratory, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launched a multi-year study of the Monocacy River for an aggressive, non-native, and invasive species known as the rusty crayfish. First discovered in north-central Maryland this summer, the invasive rusty crayfish has now also been identified in the Susquehanna River watershed. Anglers likely unintentionally introduced the rusty crayfish when discarding bait into the river.
“Invasive species are a big issue in Maryland since so much of our lives are dependant upon our waterways. Any disruption in the ecological balance of these areas could result in any number of irreversible effects if not acted upon.” said Dr. Ron Klauda, DNR Non-tidal Monitoring Director.
The rusty crayfish is native to portions of the Ohio River drainage in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. It grows quickly and can reach a length of five inches. In its native range, it is commonly found in lakes, ponds, and streams and can inhabit shallow riffles or deep pools.
The rusty crayfish has invaded 14 other states and portions of Canada where it has devastated local aquatic ecosystems. Invasions of this species have resulted in the loss of native crayfish. They are known to feed upon fish eggs and can reduce the quality of habitat available to many fishes and other invertebrates. Rusty crayfish also feed on freshwater mussels, 70% of which are threatened or endangered.
In order to prevent the spread of this and other invasive species, never release live unused bait and do not transport live fish or crayfish from one body of water to another. Rusty crayfish cannot legally be imported, transported, purchased, possessed live, propagated, sold, or released into Maryland water.
If you find a rusty crayfish, freeze the specimen, note the exact location, and call the Maryland DNR invasive species hotline at 1-877-620-8DNR. For information on rusty crayfish identification, visit the MDNR website: www.dnr.state.md.us/invasives.
October 18, 2007
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov