I think that it is safe to say they are here to stay, after seeing the numbers of fish we removed from the wetland this past summer . We have to accept that they are here, but we will do our best to manage the populations and keep their influence on our delicate ecosystem as small as possible. Source Credit: David M. Lawlor, Natural Resource Manager, Huntley Meadows Park. Staff Manages Snakehead Threat At Huntley Meadows Park.
On 25 September 2015, Dave Lawlor (shown below, far right) collaborated with a team of staff members from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to electrofish for Northern Snakehead in the central wetland area at the park.
The process seemed to be all about teamwork: every member performed a role, beginning with the “electroshockers” (see close-up, shown below) working closely with the “herders” and “dip-netters,” and ending with the “collectors.” [Editor’s Note: Words in quotes are my unofficial terms for each of the roles on the electrofishing team.]
The following photo shows a relatively large Northern Snakehead netted near the berm. Approximately 25 snakeheads were culled from the wetlands, including several measuring at least 18 inches (18″) in length! The entrails will be examined to collect data about the diet of these predatory fish.
The next photo shows Dave Lawlor (shown left) working closely with one of two “electroshockers” in search of snakeheads hunkered down for cover underneath a fallen log.
Coincidentally, an artificial fishing lure was observed along the shoreline not far from the location of the preceding photo. Fishing is not permitted at Huntley Meadows Park. If you see anyone fishing illegally, please call the HMP Visitor Center at 703-768-2525.
- Staff Manages Snakehead Threat at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County Park Authority blog
- Northern Snakeheads: New Burke Lake Residents, Fairfax County Park Authority blog
- Northern Snakehead – Channa argus, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
- Northern Snakehead – Frequently Asked Questions, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
- Do You Know the Difference? Similar-Appearing Native Fishes, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Editor’s Note: Mike Powell and I were fortunate to be in the right place when the electrofishing team arrived at the central wetland area; with permission from Dave Lawlor, we enjoyed the extraordinary opportunity to photograph this interesting event. See Mike’s excellent blog post: Snakeheads at Huntley Meadows Park.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.