News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Surveying Monocacy For Invasive Rusty Crayfish

Will Be Seeking Landowner Permission To Access Waterway

Emmittsburg, Md. (September 28, 2009) – Partnering with Hood College, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the University of Maryland Appalachian Laboratory, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launched the third year of a survey of the Monocacy River for an aggressive, non-native, and invasive species known as the rusty crayfish. DNR field crews will be conducting surveys throughout the watershed during most of October and will be contacting many private landowners for permission to access the river.

The rusty crayfish, first discovered in the Monocacy River in 2007, was likely introduced by anglers as discarded, unused bait. It is currently established in the northern portion of the Monocacy River. The goals of the 2009 survey are to determine how far the rusty crayfish has spread within the watershed over the past year and to examine the potential for controlling this invasive species.

The rusty crayfish is native to portions of the Ohio River drainage in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. It grows quickly and can reach a length of five inches. In its native range, it is commonly found in lakes, ponds, and streams and can inhabit shallow riffles or deep pools. The rusty crayfish has invaded 14 other states and portions of Canada where it has devastated local aquatic ecosystems.

In order to prevent the spread of this and other invasive species, anglers are urged to never release live unused bait or transport live fish or crayfish from one body of water to another. Rusty crayfish cannot legally be imported, transported, purchased, possessed live, propagated, sold or released into Maryland waters. Anglers are reminded that the possession and use of all live crayfishes are prohibited in the Upper Potomac, Middle Potomac, and Lower Susquehanna River basins. All crayfish caught, possessed, or used as bait must have heads removed immediately upon capture in these three areas.

For information on rusty crayfish and the current crayfish ban, visit

Members of the media interested in attending an on-site survey activity should contact Josh Davidsburg at 410-260-8002 or by email at

   September 28, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at