International Water Day is a good time to celebrate our beautiful rivers and streams.

Don’t forget about our wetlands because these areas play a vital role in the environment.

Canaan Valley is a beautiful example of what wetlands bring to West Virginia, including dozens of unique plants and animals.

What’s blue and beloved in Canaan Valley?

No, it’s not blueberries. Not even close.

Blue crayfish (really, really bright blue) are all the rage among wetland area visitors, and other people too due to online exposure.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge officials helped promote the beautifully colored crustaceans last summer on Facebook.

Turns out it was the most popular post in 2017.

Never seen one? Here are some interesting tidbits about Cambarus monogalensis, courtesy refuge officials.

(Photos by AFHA AmeriCorps Lauren Merrill)

This burrowing species is found in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia.They are typically found near springs or seeps where groundwater meets the surface.
They build tunnels underground. And also build chimneys, little pellets of mud, around the entrance to these tunnels.The chimneys can be plugged up to retain moisture during droughts.

But they also have gills, and can obtain oxygen from the air as long as their gills are wet.

Good for the environment, because they aerate the soil, help recycle nutrients between the topsoil and subsoil while also providing habitat to other species that use tunnels.