Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snakeheads in Mt. Vernon

One area that State Government does a lot of unseen work in Northern Virginia is on the Potomac River. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is responsible for Virginia's share of the Potomac River and regulating hunting and fishing. There is plenty of duck hunting and fishing that takes place along my delegate district's boundary along the Potomac River.

DGIF is still studying the invasion of the Northern Snakehead into the Potomac River and its effect on our ecology. The Northern Snakehead is a non-native invasive species from China. No one is really sure how they got here. Here is DGIF's FAQ page which has some good information.

Things really took off after an old Stephen Foster classmate of mine, Derek Radoski, and Steve Chaconas, caught a couple hundred Snakeheads in Dogue Creek in a net one day. That was when everyone figured out that this fish was here to stay.

This invasive species affects creeks all up and down the 44th's boundary on the Potomac River. Some people worry that the Snakehead's voracious appetite may affect populations of other fish species. That is one big reason why DGIF's work is important.

Here is a short video describing those efforts as they do some work in Dogue Creek in the 44th.

Make sure if you run into some DGIF guys in your local Mount Vernon Creek you thank them for their hard work on this.

While we are still trying to ascertain how these will affect the overall ecology and fish populations, Derek and Steve, have turned guided Snakehead fishing tours into a local business. The Washington Post wrote up a long story on them a couple years ago including a video you can watch here.

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