Help us to help our crayfish, and get involved with the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count.
The iconic brightly coloured crayfish of Blue Mountains streams are a long-lived, slow-growing species, and are a very important part of stream ecosystems.
Blue Mountains City Council runs annual crayfish surveys in three areas and waterbug surveys at more than sixty sites, but we are unable to conduct formal surveys in every stream - that's where you come in!
By collectively gathering more data on crayfish, this helps us to get a better picture of the health of our crayfish populations, and in turn, the health of our waterways. It may also allow earlier detection of possible pollution incidents that are impacting on crayfish and waterway health.
Follow these simple steps to contribute to the count:
- Register for iNaturalist through the app or website
- Search for and join the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count project
- When you next see a crayfish, take a photo of it
- Upload the photo to iNaturalist (through the app or website), and add it to the Blue Mountains Crayfish Project.
About the crayfish of the Blue Mountains
There are two native freshwater crayfish species living in creeks throughout the Blue Mountains:
- Euastacus spinifer (Giant Spiny Crayfish) and
- Euastacus australasiensis (Sydney Crayfish).
These crayfish may often be confused with the invasive yabbies (Cherax destructor). Yabbies are found in some parts of the Blue Mountains, but they are not native to the region. Unlike the native spiny crayfish, yabbies are smooth shelled, without spines, and generally smaller than the Euastacus species when fully grown.
Crayfish surveys have been conducted in 2013, and annually since 2016 to monitor crayfish population levels in Jamison Creek and Leura Falls Creek. Since 2018, surveys have also been conducted in Springwood creek.
Between 2013 and 2017 there were significant improvements in the Giant Spiny Crayfish (Euastacus spinifer) population levels in Jamison Creek. However the Sydney Crayfish (Euastacus australasiensis) population in Leura Falls Creek declined significantly over that time. Results in 2020 again indicated a reduced population in Leura Falls Creek, although there were signs of improvement in an upper reach site that has been undergoing remediation. Threats to the crayfish include illegal fishing, pesticide contamination, and stormwater pollution.
Learn more about the crayfish of the Blue Mountains through this short videos.
Download the full reports of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 surveys from 'Related Downloads'.
You can help to look after our crayfish in several ways:
- Choose eco-friendly pest treatment options, and minimise chemical use on your property
- Leave crayfish in place when you see them
- Keep pollutants such as dog poo, grass clippings and sediment out of gutters and stormwater drains
- Report illegal fishing to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536
- Contribute to the Blue Mountains Crayfish Count (see above)
- Make your home or business more ‘water sensitive’ by reducing stormwater runoff from your property – e.g. by installing a rainwater tank and using the water in your toilet, laundry and garden.