Right now is a great time to plant Gammarus lacustris. As we continue to grow and propagate native plants in our greenhouses during March, we have discovered another opportunity to put back some of yesterday’s native organisms into our area.
Gammarus lacustris is the freshwater shrimp that once inhabited most of the wetlands of southern, central, and western Minnesota. It is an important organism, especially important to migratory waterfowl. Many waterfowl feed upon these tiny shrimp, which provide a high protein food to help fuel the long migration to and from nesting grounds in the north.
After chopping a hole in the ice of one of our wetlands, I released about 25,000 of the little wigglers. They are already paired up and ready to begin laying their eggs as spring commences. We wish our 25,000 new residents a productive season. Once they are established in one pond, they will “hitch-hike” in the feathers of ducks as they fly from one pond to another. The hope is to re-introduce the Gammarus lacustris to more wetlands in the area. Since there is the potential for each shrimp to produce eggs ten times during the season, there is the possibility for the pitter-patter of millions of little shrimp feet this summer.