Louisiana crawfish multiply rapidly in Metro Detroit retention pond despite efforts to contain them

Scientists hope to contain them before they burrow deeper

By Paula Tutman - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. - Louisiana red swamp crawfish have been multiplying rapidly in a Metro Detroit retention pond as scientists race against the clock to contain them before the weather shifts sending the crawfish deeper underground.

Louisiana crawfish, also known as the red swamp crayfish, crayfish, crawfish and crawdads among other names, is an invasive species and the Department of Natural Resources is battling them in a Metro Detroit retention pond -- and now, drastic measures have been taken.

CO2 is being pumped into the water in an effort to get the growing population of crawfish moving and in place to be captured. A team from the U.S. Geographical survey in Wisconsin is helping, as well as studying the response. However, the plan has not been as successful as they hoped as wind and rain dilute and disperse the C02.

The hope was to catch the crawfish as they fled their burrows, but instead the crawfish seem to be digging in even deeper. Although some were caught in free floating traps.

Other creates in the pond became stressed, incapacitated, or even died -- like the fathead minnows. This became an open invitation for all kinds of birds to come feast -- but the crawfish didn't budge.

The scientists are desperately racing the clock to collect and completely contain the crawfish before the weather shifts and drives them further into their burrows. The burrowing could cause real damage to the surrounding shoreline. In addition, they could migrate and become a state problem, not just a local one. 

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