On Saturday, June 19, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains is hosting a crayfish removal event in Topanga Creek.

Crayfish are fast, voracious and have ferocious pincers and powerful tails, and just like a sci-fi movie monster, these alien invaders are running amok and wreaking havoc on defenseless populations. 

Procambarus clarkii, the red swamp crayfish, is thought to have been introduced into the Santa Monica Mountains as live bait used by sport fishermen in the days when Southern steelhead trout were abundant. The trout are now critically endangered, but the crawfish are thriving. They’ve taken over streams and pools in some of the only year-round creeks in the Santa Monica Mountains, including Malibu and Topanga creeks, killing off native amphibians like the California newt, and devouring insects and fish. Crawfish will eat almost anything they can get their pincers on. The best way to combat crawfish is by hand, scooping them out of the creek with nets. It’s a fun, muddy, messy way to help protect the Topanga Creek ecosystem, and it’s a great activity for families with older kids. The event takes place on June 19, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information and to register and receive directions, email outreach@rcdsmm.org