Help round up and remove rusty crayfish Aug. 7

  • Help find the invasive rusty crawfish in creeks at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve in Batavia or Ferson Creek Park in St. Charles on Saturday, Aug. 7.

    Help find the invasive rusty crawfish in creeks at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve in Batavia or Ferson Creek Park in St. Charles on Saturday, Aug. 7. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Posted7/22/2021 5:43 PM

There are underwater invaders in local streams and rivers and Kane County Forest Preserve District is asking for your help to find them.

The culprit is the rusty crayfish, a tiny aquatic creature that is an invasive species in Kane County.

 

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, help local naturalists round up some rowdy rusty crayfish in an effort to reduce their numbers at two locations: Glenwood Park Forest Preserve, 1644 S. River St. in Batavia, or Ferson Creek Park, off Route 31, east of Wildrose Springs Drive in St. Charles.

Families are encouraged to join in the water with dip nets to collect, identify and remove some Rusties.

You might even find the biggest of these varmints or collect the greatest number of them.

Prepare to get wet! Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that can get muddy.

This program is in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the St. Charles Park District, Red Oak Nature Center, and Friends of the Fox River.

No registration is required for this free, family-friendly program. Call (630) 444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com for more information.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website, the rusty crayfish lives in creeks, rivers and lakes with rock or gravel bottoms. This crustacean reaches maturity at about 15 months of age. Mating occurs in the fall with egg-laying in late spring. The number of eggs produced is dependent on the body size of the female, ranging from about 50 to 350. Eggs hatch in May after being carried under the female's tail for about four to six weeks.

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The species, which is native to the southern U.S., overwinters in burrows it constructs in stream banks or in other places in the ground. The rusty crayfish hunts aggressively for food, feeding mainly on plants and dead organisms.

It was first collected in Illinois in 1973. It is believed to have been introduced into Illinois by fishermen who used it as fishing bait, releasing the remaining crayfish when they were done fishing. The rusty crayfish is an aggressive, large species that takes over prime habitat from native crayfishes, forcing them into areas where they are preyed upon more easily. It also has caused the elimination of many native crayfish species from their original habitat.

Follow the district on social media by searching @forestpreserve on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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