Posted Friday, 23 April 2010 10:21
Vernal — News from Colorado is capturing the attention of biologists, anglers and water managers in Utah.
Photo courtesy of the United States Geological Survey
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) recently reported finding rusty crayfish in the Yampa River Basin.
The Yampa flows into the Green River in northeastern Utah.
In response to their discovery, the CDOW has issued an order prohibiting the removal of live crayfish from the Yampa River and any streams, lakes, canals or rivers that adjoin it.
Utah already has a similar rule for the crayfish species found in the state.
In Utah, live crayfish are on the state's prohibited list. Live crayfish cannot be collected, imported or transported anywhere without a valid Certificate of Registration from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Anglers may use crayfish as bait, but only at the same water where the anglers collected them. Crayfish caught for human consumption must be dead before they're removed from the water where they were harvested.
A major threat
The rusty crayfish is an invasive species native to the Ohio River drainage. It's had negative effects on fisheries and aquatic ecosystems in the Great Lakes region, in at least 17 other states and in southern Canada.
Elizabeth Brown, invasive species coordinator for the CDOW, says the discovery of rusty crayfish in the Yampa Basin is the first time the species has been found in Colorado.
Rusty crayfish are large and aggressive. They can affect a fishery or an aquatic ecosystem two major ways:
Why rusty crayfish are spreading
People have moved the rusty crayfish well outside its native range.
No one has found the rusty crayfish in Utah. But Colorado's recent discovery indicates the crayfish is moving westward. Crayfish are moved several ways:
What you can do
Everyone in Utah has a responsibility to keep rusty crayfish and other invasive mussels, fish, snails, wildlife and plants from spreading into Utah's waters and wild areas. Doing so is easy. It comes down to two simple things:
This simple clean, drain and dry process is available at wildlife.utah.gov/mussels/decontaminate.php
Beavers in Utah
Building guzzlers in Utah's Newfoundland Mountains
Gila monsters — Creatures of legends and misconceptions