An Education Program of the National Park Service

Crayfish Study Participation

2019 Citizen Science Opportunity
May 1 to October 31, 2019

Upcoming Training
Online training for species identification will be available by April 1, 2019. In-person training will be April 6, 2019 in the Portland/Vancouver area, and April 15, 2019 in Spokane.

Participation: Open to anyone wishing to assist with this important study. This includes K-12 school groups, youth groups, after school program groups and others interested in crayfish. First priority is any body of water in the Columbia River Watershed. All other locations, worldwide, are welcome to participate.

How do I join? 
1) Join The River Mile Network and the Crayfish Study group in The River Mile Network Community.
3) Select a site and work with area managers to complete any permits required (beware permitting can take 3-6 months)
2) Participate in online or in-person training. Learn how to identify species and how to collect, document and share data. COMING SOON!

Site Selection
You will need to find your own location. Choose to work with an agency or land owner in your local watershed or participate in a program provided by established organizations throughout the Columbia River Watershed. Contact your local or state contact listed below to learn more about opportunities in your area. If there is not a contact in your area, contact the land manager for the location in which you want to work.

All agencies and organizations have different requirements regarding collecting data of any kind on their land. You need to work with the land manager to determine if collecting crayfish would be allowed at their site and what permit requirements they may have. Many natural resource agencies have permit requirements that take 2 to 3 months to process and approve/disapprove. Be sure to become familiar with your state fishing regulations and obtain any fishing permits as required.

If you are interested in conducting your study on any National Park Service land (this includes recreation areas, historical parks, historical sites, etc..) you need to contact that park directly to see if they would allow such a project or be willing to work with you to develop a permit and project. It is illegal to collect any specimens, wildlife, plants, aquatic, etc., including crayfish, in any National Park. Some National Park sites have citizen science projects to eradicate invasive species of crayfish and you may be able to join them, but additional permissions are required for National Park Sites.

If you are interested in conducting your data collection at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in NE Washington, please contact the park’s Education Specialist to learn more. Crayfish Study Participation at Lake Roosevelt »

Please Note:  The collection of research specimens within Lake Roosevelt NRA must be done in accordance with the regulations within 36 CFR. A permit must be  approved prior to any specimen collections.  For more information on permits refer to https://www.nps.gov/laro/index.htm

 

Project Procedures
In general there are many ways to participate in the crayfish study. Final procedures will be available by April 1, 2019. Below are some examples.

  1. Collect species identifications, number of crayfish observed of each species and general locations. Catch and release using any legal method;
  2. Collect species identifications, number of crayfish observed of each species; PLUS latitude and longitude of locations observed. Catch and release using any legal method;
  3. Collect species identifications, number of crayfish observed of each species, latitude and longitude of locations observed; PLUS collect core parameter information including weather, water quality (depth, temperature, pH, conductivity) and shoreline bank information. Use traps or nets for any legal length of time.
  4. Collect species identifications, number of crayfish observed of each species, latitude and longitude of locations observed; PLUS collect core parameter information including weather, water quality (depth, temperature, pH, conductivity) and shoreline bank information. Use traps set for 24-hour period (allows for calculations of population density).
  5. Collect species identifications, number of crayfish observed of each species, latitude and longitude of locations observed; PLUS collect core parameter information including weather, water quality (depth, temperature, pH, conductivity) and shoreline bank information; PLUS Dissolved Oxygen water test. Use traps set for 24 hour period (allows for calculations of population density).

All levels of participation and observation are contributing very important scientific data. Scientists need to know what species are out there and where.

Required Training
It is important that all groups make sure that their data is correct to the best of their ability, as many resource specialists and scientists are interested in the status of crayfish in the Pacific Northwest. Therefore, in order to submit data, training is required. There is both on-line and in-person training available. All project leaders, and any assistants, will begin with training on how to identify species, document the sighting and then submit that data. If you have any questionable data, make a notation in any comments section and say why it is questionable. All data will be verified and approved before posting. After project leaders and their students have successfully submitted a minimum number of sightings they then have the opportunity to participate in additional training. These advanced training opportunities provide instruction for collecting additional parameters such as water quality, shoreline and substrate and individual crayfish descriptions (size, gender, etc.). Online training for species identification will be available by April 1, 2019. There are also 2 in-person trainings planned: April 6, 2019 in the Portland/Vancouver area and April 15, 2019 in Spokane, Washington.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact The River Mile Networks Crayfish work group at therivermile@gmail.com.

Some Background Information: