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DNR Surveying Monocacy River for Invasive Rusty Crayfish
Emmitsburg, Md. — Partnering with Hood College, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the University of Maryland Appalachian Laboratory, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will launch its second year of surveying the Monocacy River for an aggressive, non-native, and invasive species known as the rusty crayfish this week.
“The survey helps us determine how far the rusty crayfish has spread within the watershed over the past year and identify potential options to reduce its population,” said Jay Kilian, DNR biologist.
As part of they survey this October, DNR field crews will contact many private landowners for permission to access the river from their property.
The rusty crayfish, first discovered in the Monocacy River in 2007, was likely introduced by anglers as discarded, unused bait. The fast growing and spreading species can grow up to five inches long and has established a population in the northern portion of the Monocacy River.
In its native range in the Ohio River watershed covering Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, rusty crayfish are 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. Rusty crayfish is known to feed upon fish eggs and can reduce the quality of habitat available to many fishes and other invertebrates.
“In order to prevent the spread of this and other invasive species, we urge anglers to never release live unused bait and to never transport live fish or crayfish from one body of water to another,” said DNR’s Non-tidal Ecosystem Assessment Director Ron Klauda.
It is illegal to import, transport, purchase, possess live, propagate, sell, or release rusty crayfish into Maryland waters. Anglers are reminded that catching, using as bait, or possessing crayfish while fishing in the Monocacy River is currently prohibited.
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 www.dnr.state.md.us/invasives.
September 29, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
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.