2017-08-10 / Opinions

VIEW from Lansing

Have you encountered the red swamp crayfish in Michigan?

LANSING - The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of invasive red swamp crayfish in Novi and near Kalamazoo. These two locations represent the first detections of live red swamp crayfish in Michigan.

Though they are native to southern states, red swamp crayfish are considered invasive in Michigan because they compete aggressively with native crayfish species for food and habitat. They feed on plants, insects, snails, juvenile fish and other crayfish, disrupting the food chain for many aquatic species.

Of greatest concern is their habit of burrowing deep into banks, causing damage to dams, irrigation systems and shorelines.

Since the initial reports, DNR staff have been setting traps in nearby lakes and ponds to remove the crayfish and determine the extent of the infestations at both locations. At the same time, staff are following up on reports from concerned citizens who believe they may have seen or found red swamp crayfish at other places across the state.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has created a new video to help people identify and report red swamp crayfish. The video is the third in the department’s MDEQ Minute series, offering 60-second views on a broad range of topics including new and potential invasive species in Michigan.

If you find a red swamp crayfish, photograph it and send the photo, date and location of the find to herbsts1@michigan. gov.

For more information about red swamp crayfish: www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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