Missouri Crayfish are Now Sadly Officially Endangered in 5 Places
I've seen enough crayfish in my life that I have a hard time thinking of them as endangered, but that is now an official designation in Missouri in 5 counties according to a government ruling.
This brand new ruling by the US Fish and Wildlife Service says that as of May 30, 2023, two different species of crayfish will be federally protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Here's the exact wording of this new protection for these river critters:
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine threatened species status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended, for the Big Creek crayfish (Faxonius peruncus) and the St. Francis River crayfish (Faxonius quadruncus), two crayfish species from southern Missouri. We also finalize a rule under the authority of section 4(d) of the Act that provides regulatory measures that are necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of these species. In addition, we designate critical habitat for the species; in total, approximately 1,069 river miles (1,720 riverkilometers) for the Big Creek crayfish and 1,043 river miles (1,679 river kilometers) for the St. Francis River crayfish in Iron, Madison, St. Francois, Washington, and Wayne Counties, Missouri, fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designations.
Translation? You aren't to mess with (and/or cook) crayfish in these Missouri counties along the St. Francis River. It's been a long-standing rule that you also don't capture crayfish in one area and move them to another even if it's in the same county as many crayfish will wreak havoc on native species in places they don't belong.
You can check out the official statement from US Fish and Wildlife for more specifics about the newly endangered crayfish in parts of Missouri.