Have you ever wondered what creatures lurked below the surface of a creek or river? The interpretive staff of York River State Park lead seine netting programs to show guest the wide variety of crustaceans and fish that inhabit our estuarine system.
Seining is a popular ranger guided activity
Perhaps the most common and popular of our watery neighbors is the blue crab. Besides being a favorite of seafood lovers, crabs are scavengers that eat dead fish and other creatures before they putrefy the water. Tiny grass shrimp also help keep the rivers and creeks clean and healthy.
Blue Crabs hanging on
These crustaceans frequently become food for bottom feeding fish. Large Atlantic Croaker will eat small hard shell crabs as well as "shedders" (crabs in their soft-shell stage). Killifish species, such as mummichogs will chase grass shrimp in even the most shallow water.
Mummichogs are one of many small fish found in the estuaries
Killies are a favorite food for Summer Flounder and Speckled Trout. Croakers may fall victim to Dogfish Sharks. If these larger fish die at a ripe old age (rather than at the end of my filet knife), their carcasses will wash up into shallow water where the crabs and shrimp will begin the food chain all over again.
Dip nets are also good for finding aquatic life
For a first hand look at some of these unique creatures, call the park office to reserve your space for a River Seining program. They are held on the third Saturday and Sunday of June, July, and August from 1 to 3 pm. We provide waders or you may opt for shorts. Footwear is recommended. This is a great opportunity for homeschool groups, scouts, and others who want to learn about the aquatic world around them.
Join our rangers for learning and fun in the water
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.