July 12, 2011 Vermont state biologists are seeking help to document the presence of two non-native crayfish species in the White River. On Thursday and Friday, July 21 and 22, the WRP and Jennifer Guarino are teaming up to offer a free Crayfish Monitoring Workshop to train interested teachers and community volunteers how to monitor crayfish in the White River and its tributaries. Teachers are invited to attend both days of the workshop, which will cover crayfish ecology, investigation methods, quality control techniques for data collection, and curriculum development. Community volunteers are invited to attend a ½-day session on Thursday afternoon to learn about trapping crayfish and gathering high-quality data.
The rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) is an alien species that has taken up residence in the White River watershed. Besides displacing native crayfish, it can disrupt the river’s ecosystem and destroy fish nurseries. Aquatic biologists are very concerned about the rusty crayfish, yet they know little about its populations and impacts in Vermont. Last summer, we worked with several White River teachers and Jim Kellogg, Vermont state aquatic biologist, to survey crayfish in the White River behind the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel. Amazingly, we caught 8 individuals of the species Cambarus robustus, the big water crayfish, a species that had never been seen in Vermont! Is this the latest invasive crayfish to hit our state?!? More monitoring is needed to begin to answer this question.
The free, 2-day Crayfish Monitoring Workshop for teachers will begin at 9 am and end at 4:30 pm each day, and includes indoor and outdoor sessions; the ½-day session for community volunteers begins at 12:30 and ends at 4:30pm on Thursday. Refreshments will be provided. This free workshop is made possible by generous funding from the VT Watershed Grant and Grant-in-Aid programs and the Wellborn Ecology Fund.
To register and receive more information, please contact Jennifer Guarino at (802) 728-9135 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited – please contact us soon if you are interested in this opportunity!