Do you enjoy beach walking or beachcombing? Looking at wildlife along our beaches? A local group is seeking Volunteers to help look for invasive crab molts along our Puget Sound shores.
Washington Sea Grant and Washington State University Extension have teamed up to launch a new volunteer-based program to detect and report the presence of European green crab molts around Puget Sound shores, so that management efforts can be directed to new areas as needed.
European green crabs were first detected in the Washington area of the Salish Sea in 2016 – they were found in Westcott Bay on San Juan Island and in Padilla Bay. Since 2018, the crab has been found in an increasing number of places and in 2021, European green crab numbers expanded dramatically in the Lummi Nation’s Sea Pond, and in outer coastal areas such as Grays Harbor, Makah Bay, and Willapa Bay.
This invasive crab threatens shellfish, juvenile Dungeness crab, eelgrass beds which provide critical habitat for juvenile salmon, the food supply for shorebirds, and the overall health of Washington’s marine waters.
You can learn more about this effort here:
Workshop is Tuesday, May 16
Workshops are now being held in counties surrounding Puget Sound to teach volunteers how to conduct a systematic 20-minute survey for crab molts, how to properly identify the European green crab, how to take measurements of the invasive crabs as well as Dungeness crabs and how to report their findings using a mobile app.
A free King County workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, 2023, from 6 – 8 p.m., with a kick-off molt survey on Saturday, May 20 from 3 – 4 p.m. at the MaST Center Aquarium in Des Moines.
Registration is required as spots are limited:
To see a list of all of the upcoming training workshops visit:
Here’s more info from organizers:
WDFW, Washington Sea Grant, tribal co-managers, and partners (a coalition known as The Crab Team) currently monitor and trap European green crab at about 60 sites, but these only cover a small fraction of the suitable nearshore habitat for this animal. The detection of European green crab molts could serve as an early indicator of the presence of European green crab in the area. If citizen scientists, volunteers, shoreline landowners, and beachgoers knew what to look for, they could provide valuable information that would help to guide future Crab Team monitoring and trapping efforts.
WSU Extension is collaborating with WA Sea Grant on a training workshop to teach volunteers how to conduct a systematic 20-minute survey for crab molts, how to properly identify the European green crab, how to take measurements of the invasive crabs as well as Dungeness crabs and how to report their findings using a mobile app.
For more information about the Molt Search Project. please contact Bob Simmons, WSU Extension Water Resources Specialist, at [email protected], or 360-379-5610 x207.