Pine Lake Invasive Crayfish Removal
Total Red Swamp Removed
About our work
Washington State is host to several aquatic invasive species, which pose significant threats to local ecosystems. Of significant concern is the recently introduced red swamp crayfish, (Procambarus clarkii). The substantial ecological effects of red swamp crayfish and possible financial costs to recreational fisheries necessitate rapid management efforts. Though likely established in only 12 lakes in western Washington, without control efforts these lakes may over time become local source populations for future spread. Lakes in Washington are ideal places to attempt removal and eradication of invasive crayfish, but the potential for volunteer-based removals is a largely unexplored. Over the last four years, we provided equipment and trained resident volunteers to trap, identify, and remove red swamp crayfish in Pine Lake; the site of its first discovery in 2000. This represented the first ever whole-lake volunteer-based removal effort for invasive crayfish. Volunteers in nearly 80 households have participated between 2013-2016, amounting to over 175,000 reported trapping hours and removal of more than 8,600 red swamp crayfish from the lake! Moreover, this volunteer effort has enhanced environmental literacy about Washington’s freshwater ecosystems and highlighted the innovative efforts of Pine Lake residents through local and regional media. The project has been featured in the Sammamish Review, Issaquah Reporter, The Seattle Times, College of the Environment News, and by National Public Radio.
We monitored Pine Lake – including native signal crayfish populations – for 6 years prior to the removal effort, and will continue to monitor the lake into the future to assess how the native populations and lake food web are responding to the removal effort. Please check back for ongoing project updates as we complete analysis of this unique data collected by Pine Lake citizen scientists!