Training to Identify Invasive and Devastating Green Crab

Last summer I had come across an article which detailed the sightings of the invasive European Green Crab. (Do You Know Where Your Green Crabs Are Sleeping?) I contacted the team of crab hunters anxious to sign up for one of their training programs only to learn that  I’d have to wait until the winter of 2017. Patience doesn’t come easy to me.

But, that time has finally arrived and I’ll be attending their class this weekend in Port Townsend. I’ll also be filming the training for a promotional video for the program.

Green Crab Team Training

You can read more about the threat the European Green Crab represents as well as the history of sightings here on the west coast at the link I provided above. LIke any invasive species it’s not good for the local ecosystem that have to compete for resources.

In California, it has caused losses as great as 50% in Manila clam stocks. It preys on numerous other organisms, making these crabs potential competitors for the food sources of native fish and bird species.

The Crab Team project was launched in 2015, in response to a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) mandate to monitor for European green crabs along inland Washington shorelines. By using citizen science they have greatly increased their reach in monitoring for this invasive specifies.

This weekends training will take place Monday, the 20th at the Northwest Maritime Center from 9am – 3pm. There will be both classroom and field sessions. Apparently some of the area’s we’ll be introduced to are:

  • Background information on the history, ecology, and management of European green crabs
  • Training on identification of pocket estuary critters you will encounter while monitoring.
  • Training and practice on monitoring protocols.

After our training, we’ll each volunteer to monitor an area along the Washington coast checking on a monthly basis for any sign of the crab.

If this sounds like a project you might want to be involved in you can contact the team here. The program home page is here.

Promotional Film

Although the training is on Monday, I’ll be heading up on Friday to start filming b-roll. Really, it’s just an excuse to spend some time in Port Townsend. Years ago those of us in the paddlesports industry use to converge once a year on Fort Worden State Park to participate in the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium. Those days are gone with just some good memories, and old tee-shirts in the back of the closet to help jog the memory.

I reached out to Dr. Emily Grason, Program Coordinator with an offer and an idea to do some filming for a small promotional video. She was incredibly responsive to the idea and, after having exchanged multiple emails back and forth, the scope of the project has grown.

I’ll be camping in the lower beach campground of the park, and this time of the year, should have the place pretty much to myself. I love the maritime atmosphere of Port Townsend, but honestly there is a legitimate reason to go a few days early to grab all my b-roll. This time of year you never know the type of weather you’re going to encounter but if you can wait 48 hours, it probably with change. So, I should be able to get airborne and get some aerial shots of the venue. Fingers crossed.

I’m excited to be both a Crab Team Volunteer and working on the promotional. It’s a worthy program and project to be working with. I’ll be publishing some behind-the-scenes photos and the training over on my instagram. Let me know your impressions.

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