Environmental Threats

Monitors Capture Their First in Green Crab in Chuckanut Bay

August 9, 2022

Crab Team volunteer monitors have been working in Chuckanut Bay since 2017, and just last month they pulled up their first live green crab during monthly sampling. The crab was a larger (77mm) older female, indicating she’d been present at the site for at least three or four years.

In 2019, three green crabs were captured by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in assessment trapping. Since that time, no further live captures have been made, including in ...

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In the Nick of time? An early detection and rapid assessment in Hood Canal

June 8, 2022

The amazing volunteers who make up Washington Sea Grant’s Crab Team have done it again, detecting a basketful of green crabs before they became a truckload. Part of what makes this event particularly significant is that it’s in Hood Canal, a basin of the Salish Sea where green crabs had not previously been detected. 

From Detection to Response

During their regular monthly monitoring in May, the team at Nick’s Lagoon near Seabeck caught ...

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Crab Team at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

May 31, 2022

The second all-virtual Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (April 26-28) offered everyone with an interest or involvement in the inland waters shared by Washington and British Columbia the chance to connect over a huge range of topics, impacts of last summer’s heat dome, southern resident killer whale status, environmental justice, and of course, our favorite topic – European green crabs. There was a lot on the conference schedule related to green crab, and we wanted to share snapshots ...

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Community Science Volunteers Discover Invasive European Green Crab in Hood Canal
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Environmental DNA (Part 2): A Cautionary Carp Tale

March 3, 2022

This is the second in a series of posts sharing new research on the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) in detection of green crabs. For our introduction to eDNA, check out the previous post.

As a detection tool, the process of sampling eDNA is relatively simple, but interpreting results can actually be more complicated than you might expect. While the laboratory process and equipment might tell you – within some window of tolerance – whether green crab DNA ...

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Environmental DNA (Part 1): Green Crab Monitoring 2.0?

February 24, 2022

Early detection is one of the best ways to thwart an invasive species, but trying to find some of the first individuals to arrive in a new habitat is no easy task. WSG Crab Team built a monitoring network to meet this challenge: by using multiple search methods and finely tuning the search protocols for green crabs, we hope to be able to uncover evidence of green crabs even while they are still extremely rare. Early detection successes ...

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Coastal Green Crab Captures Increased in 2021

January 20, 2022

Trapping throughout 2021 indicates that the European green crab invasion has grown across Washington’s coastal estuaries, namely Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, and Makah Bay. This year’s collaborative efforts by many partners to remove crabs and track the invasion also confirmed that green crabs are more abundant and widespread in these locations than they are along inland shorelines, and will likely continue to increase.

A Collaborative Approach

2021 marked the second year of intensive and systematic trapping for European green ...

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What Does the Invasion at Lummi Mean for the Salish Sea?

December 6, 2021

The recent report by the Lummi Nation of more than 70,000 European green crabs captured this year has many wondering what this could mean for efforts to prevent green crabs from establishing in the Salish Sea. This number certainly indicates that the population of green crabs within the sea pond on the Lummi Reservation has grown exponentially since their first detection in 2019 (Mueller and Jefferson, ...

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Padilla Bay: In It For The Long Haul

August 23, 2021

August 30 of this year will mark the fifth anniversary of the first confirmed detection of invasive European green crab along the inland shorelines of Washington which occurred on San Juan Island. Three weeks later, the region will hit the same milestone for the second confirmed detection: Padilla Bay, near Mt. Vernon.

As home to a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), Padilla Bay is one of the ...

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Protocol in Focus: Is it a molt or a dead crab?

One strength of the Crab Team protocol is that it enables us to confidently compare findings among sites, and track changes over time – even if different people are doing the sampling. With sampling on this scale, even the small steps can be important to what we learn from the data. Protocol in Focus allows us to expand on these details, and offer an opportunity to see all the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into methodology.

The molt ...

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Completing the First Year of a Collaborative Removal Effort at Drayton Harbor

December 23, 2020

One of the big successes this year was the launch of a local removal effort in Drayton Harbor. In spite of COVID, in spite of wildfire smoke, in spite of everything that 2020 had to throw at us, the collaborative management team was able to make great strides in trapping the Washington’s northernmost green crab hotspot. From May through October of this year, the crew was out trapping, trapping, and … trapping, with two ...

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