Dealing with freshwater invaders

Workshop to design invasive species project

Hard pressed local authorities in Yorkshire are to get some support from iCASP  in dealing with the spread of watery invaders such as Giant Hogweed, a plant that causes long-term skin burning.

Last year’s costs for removing Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed from the Rivers Aire and Don was over a hundred thousand pounds. Although Yorkshire is currently largely free of Floating Pennywort, which clogs up waterways, costs of large infestations are huge. Once widespread it becomes almost impossible to eradicate this invasive species, resulting in spiralling annual costs of treatment. A new iCASP project will therefore help authorities to act now to prevent any spread.

Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) are key drivers of environmental change, threaten ecosystem services, and increase flood risk. Research has shown that they can be introduced and spread via clothing, vehicles and equipment used in a range of activities. Once INNS become established, costs of control are large, and freshwaters are particularly affected. For example, Zebra Mussel management costs the UK £5m per annum.

Prevention is therefore better than cure, so the iCASP INNS project is all about instilling good biosecurity practices for activities at most risk of introducing or spreading INNS. This is the most cost-effective management option available. The latest research will be translated into strategies and resources that Local Authorities and other organisations can use to introduce  procedures for better biosecurity in the Ouse Basin. The project will build on the outcomes of a successful day workshop which brought together the perspectives and experience of a range of partner organisations to scope what was needed to address the INNS challenge.

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