WSU Extension and WA Sea Grant collaborate on volunteer program to protect Puget Sound from invasive European green crab species
Information from WSU
Washington State University (WSU) Extension and Washington Sea Grant have launched a new program to train volunteers to detect and report the presence of invasive European green crab molts along Puget Sound shores.The European green crab is a hardy and voracious predator native to Western Europe and Northwestern Africa. This species has invaded intertidal zones around the globe and, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, it is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species.
European green crabs were first detected in the Washington area of the Salish Sea in 2016 – they were found in Westcott Bay on San Juan Island and in Padilla Bay. Since 2018, the crab has been found in an increasing number of places and in 2021, European green crab numbers expanded dramatically in the Lummi Nation’s Sea Pond, and in outer coastal areas such as Grays Harbor, Makah Bay, and Willapa Bay.
This invasive crab threatens shellfish, juvenile Dungeness crab, eelgrass beds which provide critical habitat for juvenile salmon, the food supply for shorebirds, and the overall health of Washington’s marine waters.
WDFW, Washington Sea Grant, tribal co-managers, and partners (a coalition known as The Crab Team) currently monitor and trap European green crab at about 60 sites, but these only cover a small fraction of the suitable nearshore habitat for this animal. The detection of European green crab molts could serve as an early indicator of the presence of European green crab in the area. If citizen scientists, volunteers, shoreline landowners, and beachgoers knew what to look for, they could provide valuable information that would help to guide future Crab Team monitoring and trapping efforts.
WSU Extension is collaborating with WA Sea Grant on a training workshop to teach volunteers how to conduct a systematic 20-minute survey for crab molts, how to properly identify the European green crab, how to take measurements of the invasive crabs as well as Dungeness crabs and how to report their findings using a mobile app.
You can learn more about this effort here:https://news.cahnrs.wsu.edu/article/amid-emergency-measures-wsu-extension-and-washington-sea-grant-train-volunteers-to-find-invasive-european-green-crab/.
King County workshop details:
May 16th 6:00pm-8:00pm at MaST Aquarium Center, Des Moines, WA
Register required as spots are limited:
To see a list of all of the upcoming training workshops visit: https://wsg.washington.edu/crabteam/moltsearch/
For more information about the Molt Search Project contact: Bob Simmons, WSU Extension Water Resources Specialist, email@example.com, 360-379-5610 x207