Crayfish wriggles in the hands of Stephanie Shelton, WSDOT project inspector, as it's scooped up, tallied and then released into a safe location in the Hylebos waterway. We catch, tally and move fish, frogs, crayfish and other aquatic animals before we begin moving the stream to its new location.
We were surprised to find a healthy (abundant!) population of crayfish living in the old stream channel we were connecting to our new section of stream at the restoration site. Wondering if it was the same species that made “etouffee” famous, we asked project biologist Andrew Gross. He helped us ID it as the native Signal crayfish (Pacifasticus leniusculus): a crayfish indigenous to the Puget Sound, and apparently fairly common in freshwater lowland streams. According to locals, our native crayfish is an even tastier catch than it’s more famous cousin, the Red Swamp crayfish – which can also be found locally but is invasive in Washington State. We’re just glad to have the locals happy and thriving at our new stream site. ^jh