Scientists hope to fix Pickering Creek ecosystem with slimy eels

By all accounts, it's a picture-perfect day at Pickering Creek in Chester Springs, but a crowd of scientists know there's a problem, and they play on making history to solve it.

"They're slimy, they're snake-like and they're a little bit scary if you see them in the water," said Maya Van Rossum, otherwise known as the Delaware Riverkeeper.

She's referring to the American eel. It's a creature native to the creek that migrated away 50 years ago. In its absence, an invasive species of crayfish from Canada has arrived.

Dr. Erik Silldorff, the restoration director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network says the crayfish "build their population to unnaturally high levels and take all the energy so the populations and overall biomass of native species starts to decline."

In an effort to restore stability back to the ecosystem, the group put a thousand eels taken from the Sargasso Sea back into the river. Their hope is the eels will eat the invasive crayfish. Their goal is to have about 10,000 in the river basin over the next few years, but in the immediate aftermath of the experiment, scientists seemed hopeful in its success.

"Look at how they just blend back into the environment already right. They're already finding their places," said Silldorff.
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