American eels have been released into Pickering Creek at Historic Yellow Springs to help control populations of an invasive species of crayfish, writes Justin Heinze for the Phoenixville Patch.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network recently released more than 1,000 of the native fish into the creek in an attempt to improve the ecological health of the watershed.
Even small amounts of eels are capable of eliminating the invasive species of crayfish. At the same time, native crayfish have proven they can coexist with eels.
However, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the virile crayfish populations affect not only the native crayfish populations but also the macroinvertebrate community at large. This poses a significant threat to biodiversity.
The sites where the eels were released will be monitored to determine the effect on the health of the creek. More eels of various sizes will be introduced into the creek after the current eels journey to the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean to reproduce. This will allow officials to judge their full impact.
The project is being implemented as part of a unique partnership between the Network and other nonprofits and government agencies, including the Western PA Conservancy and Academy of Natural Sciences.
Read more about the reintroduction of American eels from the Phoenixville Patch here.