Australian redclaw crayfish take over Wetlands Park prompting emergency removal

It’s eviction day for an invasive crayfish found living in Southern Nevada.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:54 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It’s eviction day for an invasive crayfish found living in Southern Nevada.

It’s called the Australian redclaw crayfish and the Nevada Department of Wildlife is working to remove the crustacean from two ponds at Wetlands Park just north of Henderson.

”They’re not just gonna sit there and say oh pick me so it’s gonna be a while to figure out where they’re at,” said Doug Nielsen with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “We’ve had a discovery here in these ponds Australian redclaw crayfish, that’s a mouthful, these are invasive species that can create some harm,” added Nielsen.

He’s here with a team of people trying to find these critters by pumping water out of two ponds.

The West and Boardwalk ponds out of the twelve at the wetlands park have these Australian redclaw crayfish in them.

“Anytime you introduce a species that’s not native to the waterways it can have an impact on native fish population makes its way down to lake mead it can damage the entire ecosystem,” said Nielsen.

Originating from Australia the crayfish got here by people dropping a few into the ponds.

“Somebody had to carry it there it didn’t get there on its own,” said Nielsen.

Now, it’s causing devastating results.

Brandon Senger is the southern region fishery supervisor - he says it’s a ripple effect.

Harmful not only to the crayfish itself but everything around it.

“Crayfish when they get in have the ability to burrow and hide in the sub straight hide really well any fish eggs they come across they’ll snatch that up forage on vegetation really disruptive from the bottom of the food chain to the direct predation,” said Senger.

Senger and Nielsen are both working tirelessly for the next few weeks, as time is ticking before migratory birds season.

This is when birds rely on these bodies of water in spring.

“They’re dependent on the water for their stops and rest area so we want to minimize this the best we can,” said Nielsen.

Environmentalist like Ben Jurand says he’s appreciative to the person who spotted this crayfish back in November.

“We got the first report of this sighting this species by a volunteer who was out here on what we call the wetlands watch the program they’re out here to be the eyes and ears for the park,” said Jurand.