Citizen science program to survey European green crabs

Public training to be held at Birch Bay State Park on Saturday, May 20


A new citizen science program will allow the public to report European green crabs found in Drayton Harbor and other Washington waters. 

Washington Sea Grant (WSG) and Washington State University Whatcom County Extension have created a program called the Molt Search for community members to detect the invasive European green crab by surveying crab exoskeletons. 

Scientists will host two local trainings on how to conduct 20-minute surveys for crab molts and report findings through an app. The trainings will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at the BP Heron Center at Birch Bay State Park and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 8 at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Additional trainings will be held statewide. 

European green crabs have devastating impacts on native ecosystems including Dungeness crab, oyster, clam and seagrass populations. The invasive species was detected in Drayton Harbor in August 2019 and have since been monitored in harbor and surrounding areas of Dakota Creek and California Creek. 

To RSVP, visit For more information on the trainings, contact Cheryl Lovato Niles, water resources educator for WSU Whatcom County Extension, at 360/778-5812 or More information on the Molt Search program can be found on the WSG website at  


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