Students study rusty crayfish
PIKE COUNTY, PA — A Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) $500 Environmental Education Grant recently supported an invasive species sampling project conducted by students in the Wallenpaupack High School Environmental Club. The grant helped to purchase project equipment. Under the guidance of Wallenpaupack biology teacher Linda Lohner and ecologist Richard Evans of the National Park Service, the students searched for rusty crayfish on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA). The large, aggressive species of freshwater crayfish had been found on the New Jersey side in 2015.
The rusty crayfish is native to the Ohio River Basin, but was introduced to new areas by fishermen using them as bait. As its range rapidly expands in North America, the rusty crayfish is displacing native species, such as our common brook crayfish and spiny-cheeked crayfish.
During their summer break, the Wallenpaupack students sampled 26 sites and logged 580 hours on their project. Of 620 crayfish captured, none were identified as rusty crayfish. The students presented project highlights to members of the PCCD Board of Directors on September 17.
Visit the Education tab at PikeConservation.org for more information about the District’s Environmental Education Grant or call 570/226-8220.