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Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project: 2017 Update

  • Author(s): Pepper, Margaret
  • Sullivan, Kevin
  • Colona, Robert
  • McKnight, Jonathan
  • et al.
Abstract

Nutria, a semi-aquatic, South American rodent, was introduced to Maryland during the early 1940s. Originally brought to the area for fur farms, the market never established and animals were released or escaped. Nutria thrived, destroying coastal wetlands which resulted in negative environmental and economic impacts to the Chesapeake Bay region. To preserve and protect valuable wetland resources, the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (CBNEP) was established in 2002 through a partnership between the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and many state agencies and non-governmental organizations. Since inception, the CBNEP has removed and reduced nutria populations to near zero across ¼ million acres of wetlands throughout the Delmarva Peninsula (Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia). The CBNEP has aided in the protection of critical natural resources and provided assistance to over 400 private landowners. Throughout its history, the CBNEP has developed new detection techniques and modified existing methods as the nature of the eradication effort changed. We provide a project overview and detail several observer-based and device-based methods that were developed and used for detection of nutria including: shoreline and ground surveys, monitoring platforms, detector dogs, lure development and remote triggered cameras.

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