Big Sandy Crayfish and Guyandotte River Crayfish (Cambarus callainus, C. veteranus)
Crayfishes: Important and Fascinating
Crayfishes, including the Guyandotte River and Big Sandy crayfishes, play an important role in stream environments by recycling animal and plant matter and serving as food for other wildlife, including sport fish. Keeping streams healthy for crayfish also benefits people by ensuring clean water for drinking, wading and fishing.
Appalachian Natives In Decline
Just as the central Appalachian landscape was beginning to undergo changes related to early 20th century mining, logging and population growth, researchers documented a number of crayfish species in the streams of this area known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Two of these crayfishes, the Big Sandy crayfish and the Guyandotte River crayfish, have disappeared from many of the areas in their historical ranges.
Following a review of scientific and commercial information on the species, we listed the Big Sandy crayfish as threatened and the Guyandotte River crayfish as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Ongoing erosion and sedimentation have made many streams within their historical ranges unsuitable for the crayfishes. The Big Sandy crayfish is found in six isolated subpopulations across the upper Big Sandy River watershed in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Guyandotte River crayfish survives at two sites in Wyoming County, West Virginia.
December 21: Crayfish survey reports available for public review
August 27, 2015: Surveys uncover new location of rare Guyandotte River crayfish
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