Rusty Rodeo nets invasive crayfish on Fox River
Nearly 100 volunteers waded into the Fox River and a nearby creek in an effort to remove an invasive species of crayfish during the third-annual Rusty Rodeo at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve in Batavia on Saturday.
Using nets of all shapes and sizes, children and adults scooped rusty crayfish, which are larger and more aggressive than native species, and placed them in water-filled buckets, some of which held dozens of the lobster-like invertebrates that can grow to be up to 4 inches long.
Even predatory fish that eat crayfish are deterred from preying on the species due to their aggressive nature, according to Fox Valley Park District officials.
"It's more aggressive, it's able to breed faster, so it's able to out-compete our native crayfish," said Renee Oakley, manager of the Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia, which teamed up with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Hickory Knolls Discovery Center of the St. Charles Park District and Friends of the Fox to organize event.
Rusty crayfish caught during the event will be used to help feed animals, including turtles, at the nature center, Oakley said.