Invasive Crayfish Research

Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are an invasive crayfish species that has invaded many Michigan rivers, streams, ponds and lakes causing a variety of ecological problems including:

  • Displacement of native crayfish: rusty crayfish are an aggressive species, frequently driving native crayfish away from their native habitat.
  • Consumption of native plants, invertebrates, detritus (decaying plants and animals), fish eggs, and small fish, reducing available food options for native species thus reducing native populations.
  • Destruction of aquatic plant beds, limiting habitat for other species and reducing natural erosion control.

For more detailed information about rusty crayfish, please read this article from the Minnesota Sea Grant.

Perch Lake Crayfish GridThe Perch Lake Owners Association (PLOA) is taking a proactive approach to this issue by working with the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) to survey Perch Lake on a regular basis to monitor the presence of rusty crayfish. To date, it does not appear that the rusty crayfish population is at harmful levels but we are actively working to keep things that way. Your help in keeping the population in check is greatly appreciated. We are in need of volunteers to continue the trapping of rusty crayfish, and we encourage you to contact Jim Novitski, PLOA Lake Management Committee Chair to find out how you can help. We have a crayfish survey program that tracks the presence of rusty crayfish using a grid-based system (see the attached Word Doc). Jim would be happy to instruct you on how to contribute to our survey efforts.