At Arizona's Fossil Creek this August, concerned locals took a bite out of an invasive crayfish population.
Two years ago, under pressure from local
environmental groups, power provider Arizona Public Service agreed
to remove a 90-year-old dam from the creek, which provides
important habitat for native fish like Gila and roundtail chubs,
desert and Sonoran suckers, and speckled and longfin dace (HCN,
12/6/99: Fossil creek will flow again). The dam won't actually be
dismantled until 2009, but scientists and environmental groups are
already working to restore Fossil Creek.
Biologists from state and federal agencies and
Flagstaff's Northern Arizona University are assessing fish and
invertebrate populations. They're also trying to oust non-native
crayfish * which escaped when they were used as fishing bait - and
introduced sport fish, such as green sunfish, channel cats and
In late August, 20 volunteers
from the Grand Canyon Trust, a Flagstaff-based conservation group,
counted native fish and removed all the non-natives that they
trapped. Then they herded about 600 crayfish into nets, and
stranded them on the beach to die.
the organizers of the weekend had planned to cook and eat the
crawdads as part of the evening meal, but the taste of victory
proved elusive. "They were really small," says Bob Hoffa, a
volunteer coordinator for the Trust. "They wouldn't have been worth