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Boys Make Discovery that Stumped Scientists | News

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Boys Make Discovery that Stumped Scientists

LAS VEGAS -- A group of valley kids were able to discover something scientists could not -- an invasive species taking over a local lake. Their findings may save schools of endangered fish and keep the lake's food chain afloat.

The peaceful waters of Lake Harriet in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park are full of creatures. It's a young boy's dream. Adventurers Cole Turner and Jack Silberman didn't know there was an unknown predator lurking in the water and devouring state protected Pahrump pool fish.

"He was like this big and he was like crawling up and I was like, oh my gosh! That's the biggest one we've had," said Jack Silberman.

The two boys managed to do in 15 minutes what the biologists couldn't do in weeks. They found an actual, live crayfish.

"We had the right timing. I mean we came in and we saw them," Silberman said.

"It's pretty surprising that we would have crayfish in this lake," Cole Turner said.

Biologists agree. Before the kids' discovery, state scientists only had their suspicions. Park ranger Randy Denter helped recover the live crayfish after watching biologists' efforts falter.

"They had traps set out and they were just unsuccessful catching any of them," Denter said.

"Nobody's found them in here. Biologists were looking for them for three weeks and we found them and I mean that's pretty cool," Turner said.

State biologist Brandon Senger says an invasive species can not just kill minnows but disrupt an entire food chain.

"It's really bad for the population. They prey upon the fish and their eggs," said Brandon Senger, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The kids say they want to do what they can to keep the endangered minnows stay alive.

"They're really rare and they need to be protected," Turner said.

Scientists credit the boys with helping them take the next step in fighting the threat in the lake. Scientists are now upping their efforts to try and trap the crayfish in Lake Harriet. They say if you find any, don't take them out yourself. Swimming and fishing are both restricted. They say leave the trapping to state wildlife workers.


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