Tag Archive for: Crawfish

Many Yards That Flooded Last Year See Crayfish Population Explosion

I have received a flood of emails lately from people complaining about the sudden explosion of crayfish in their yards this year. The worst cases seem to be in yards that flooded last year, either from nearby construction, which altered drainage, or from Tropical Storm Imelda.

The most common complaint: the mud chimneys make mowing yards nearly impossible. And, “You can twist an ankle without even trying,” says Gretchen Dunlap Smith, one of the affected homeowners. On an even more serious note, they can also undermine earthen dams. “What to do?” people ask.

Be Thankful You Don’t Live in Tasmania!

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, whatever you call them, they’re all essentially the same thing. More than 550 species exist worldwide. They range in size from less than an inch in Louisiana to more than 8 POUNDS in Tasmania. There are 390 species in North America, 338 in the United States. Texas alone has 40 species according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Counties in the north Houston area even have their own unique breed.

Attracted to Water, Danger to Pond Dams

Louis A. Helfrich, Extension Specialist; Jim Parkhurst, Extension Specialist; and Richard Neves, Extension Specialist; Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, at Virginia Tech published a study called “The Control of Burrowing Crayfish in Ponds.” They say that burrowing animals such as crayfish “construct their homes or ‘burrows’ by digging into soil banks along the shorelines of waterbodies. Tunnels dug below the water level provide channels through which water can escape. Tunnels dug above the water level can decrease structural support of the embankment and increase the risk of washout during flood conditions. These hazards are multiplied in waters where burrowing animals are abundant and where water levels fluctuate.”

Chemical Treatments Not Recommended

The breeding season peaks in early spring, say the authors. “Complete elimination is usually not possible … Control is successful when the balance between the predator (fish, birds, mammals) and the prey species (crayfish) is reached, and excessive burrowing damage is reduced to an acceptable level.”

The Virginia Tech study does not recommend chemical treatments because they: (1) threaten water quality, (2) kill beneficial plants and animals as well as pests, and (3) can be widely distributed by wind and water movements.

No chemicals are currently registered for crayfish control. Never apply toxic chemicals directly to waters or near shorelines where they can seep into waterways.”

An explosion of crayfish chimneys in a yard flooded last year next to the Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village construction site. This and photos below courtesy of Gretchen Dunlap Smith.
Gretchen Dunlap Smith’s yard after smashing the crayfish chimneys.
As soon as you smash them…
…the crayfish rebuild them. This is because they burrow. Tunnels can go down 2-3 feet with side chambers.

Another homeowner, Susanne Kite says, “Places in my yard have not completely dried up since Imelda. A lot changed after that flood. I don’t understand what was so different and caused so much to change.”

Crayfish Love Wetlands

Suzanne Simpson, a wildlife biologist with the Bayou Land Conservancy, may have an explanation. “Crayfish love wetlands. So much so that the presence of crayfish mounds is considered a secondary indicator of wetland habitat on wetland delineation sheets for the Corps of Engineers.”

“Crayfish feed on detritus and mostly make their mounds during the rainy season,” says Simpson. “I’m sure the floodwaters brought in some detritus with them, and flooding leaves traces that likely lead the crayfish to identify these yards as good habitat. They’re not too easy to get rid of, but it can be done.”

Drainage Improvement and Traps: Your Best Bet. Puppies? Not So Much

You best bet: terrascaping to improve drainage, say the experts. Failing that, “traps are humane and non toxic. You don’t have to worry about poisoning other animals or leaving persistent residue in your soil,” says the web site Gardening Know How.

“My littlest schnauzer had puppies Dec 30th,” said Gretchen Dunlap Smith. “The puppies are DIGGING them up at a rapid rate and EATING them! It is GROSS hearing them crunch!! Sounds like they are chewing gravel. So, no chance for étouffée…the dogs are having sushi.”

Posted by Bob Rehak on March 30, 2020 with help from Suzanne Simpson, Gretchen Dunlap Smith and Susanne Kite

944 Days after Harvey and 193 since Imelda

Perry Homes Converting Woodridge Village to Scuba Center or Maybe a…

Woodridge Village after a one-inch rain.

From Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous

Kathy Perry Britton, CEO of Perry Homes, a titan of business and devotee of Zig “See You at the Top” Ziglar, has reportedly given up on her dream of building swamp homes in Woodridge Village. She has new ideas to turn mud into money.

Her confidante and hairdresser hints Britton has toyed with several options. The leading one at the moment: Turning the land into a world-class scuba center called “That Sinking Feeling.” She plans to market it to people who are underwater on their homes.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Boil ‘Em

“Perry Homes stands for quality,” she supposedly said. “And always will. If the scuba center doesn’t work, there’s no shortage of mud bugs out there. We’ll turn this into the Crawfish Capital of the Gulf Coast.” And then in a comment that reportedly angered crustacean-rights activists, she added, “If you can’t beat ’em, boil ’em!”

The irrepressible, unstoppable Britton reportedly has other backup options, too. “If that doesn’t work, Vince McMahon has approached us about turning this into the WWE Female Mud Wrestling Capital of the World,” Britton’s chambermaid reported. “He has plenty of stars lined up to turn this into a fairy-tale success. Vince has already received letters of intent from Misty Raine, Muddie Waters, and Hurrie Spitball Caine.”

Ms. Britton, paraphrasing Mark Twain, reportedly told her bootlicker, “The rumors of our bankruptcy have been greatly exaggerated. We have plenty of options to make a buck out there if suing the flood victims doesn’t work.”

According to unnamed insiders, Christian Louboutin has also supposedly brainstormed with Britton about brand extensions. Britton is confident there’s a market for stiletto hip-waders in Houston. “It’s a natural in places like Elm Grove. How else would women get to their cars in the rain?”

MoCo Offers Tax Incentives

The rumor mill also says that Wham-O has approached Perry Homes about turning Woodridge Village into the world’s largest Slip ‘N Slide. The irrepressible Britton told her fingernail artist, “Montgomery County even offered us tax breaks, finder’s fees, and margaritas. They’re so accommodating up there.”

In a rare moment of candor, Britton reportedly complained to her lawyer extraordinaire, J. Carey “Promise Them Anything” Gray. “I’m tired of all the mud slinging by these so-called flood victims in Elm Grove. It’s their fault they flooded. They built downstream from us. Duh! What were they thinking?”

“If worse comes to bratwurst,” Britton supposedly bragged to her chauffeur, “Home Depot and Lowes have both expressed interest in building mega repair centers on the property. They have raved to us about the possibilities. Repeat flooding. Hundreds of homes each time. Think about the potential synergies. My God, we could go public on the rumors alone and make a killing.”

The Right to Make a Profit

“I don’t know what these Elm Grove people are complaining about,” Britton reportedly grumbled to her masseuse. “I have to fly to Paris for a good mud bath. They get it for free.”

“These Elm Grove people are so hurtful. Always slinging mud. I have feelings, too. I just wish they could be positive for a change and see the marketing potential in all of this. We have a right to make a profit. This IS Texas after all.”

With that, Britton reportedly hurried off to discuss a separate deal with Monster MudTruck Rodeo organizers.

In Loving Memory of Robin Leach, A Parody Roast Post by Bob Rehak on 1/28/2020

882 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 131 since Imelda

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between characters in this post and executives of Perry Homes is strictly coincidental.

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.