Help us look out for Non-Native Invasive Species!
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Shropshire Wildlife Trust have recently been awarded a Water Environment Grant by Natural England, funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by Defra, for 2020-2021. This project aims to bring together a Local Action Group for Shropshire, for all non-native invasive species. In addition, we will be controlling Himalayan balsam in a few key areas (sites to be confirmed) using novel bio-control methods. The GB Invasive Non-Native Species strategy and Midlands Regional Invasive Species Management Plan will help guide this work: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?pageid=632 .
Check back here for updates on local activities, and how you can get involved. Meanwhile, please see the links and information below:
Non-native invasive species can be found in many habitats, including rivers, ponds, canals, and other freshwater bodies. These species can be a threat to our native wildlife by bringing in diseases, out-competing them for food and light, and even eating our native species! Some non-native species are vectors for disease which affect humans, for example certain species of mosquito. Public Health England monitors species like this, for example via their mosquito surveillance project: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mosquitoes-how-to-report . Government guidance for how to help stop the spread of invasive plants can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prevent-the-spread-of-harmful-invasive-and-non-native-plants
This page has a selection of images showing some of the species you may come across. The GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website has a wealth of information, and can be found here: http://www.nonnativespecies.org
There are various ways of tackling these species, and you may be able to get involved with a volunteer group near you. If you believe you have non-native invasive species on your land, you can find out the best course of action here: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?sectionid=53 . Various Wildlife Groups are taking action on invasives: find a Shropshire Wildlife Group near you here: http://www.shropscwgs.org.uk/
You can help in many ways, including recording any non-native invasive species you see via the INNS Mapper (free registration): https://ywt-data.org/inns-mapper/ , or one of these recording schemes: http://www.nonnativespecies.org//index.cfm?sectionid=81. The PlantTracker app is a great resource to help locate incidences of a number of high priority invasive plant species: https://www.planttracker.org.uk/map/balsam .
An excellent way to learn more is to undertake the free e-learning modules on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website here: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/elearning/ and the Biosecurity online training from the University of Leeds: https://openeducation.blackboard.com/mooc-catalog/courseDetails/view?course_id=_1189_1
Are you a gardener or allotment-holder? Check out the Plant Alert app and help horizon-scan for the next non-native invasive species: https://bsbi.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/Plant-Alert-Release-May-2020-FINAL.pdf
Non-native invasive species dentification sheets are available here: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?sectionid=47
Follow @InvasiveSp on Twitter: https://twitter.com/InvasiveSp to keep up with the latest, and use hashtags: #NNIS #Biosecurity #invasivesweek
Keep an eye on the potential Nature Volunteer Force/Citizens' Army, being considered in light of the successful New Zealand approach: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/62/environmental-audit-committee/news/146382/invasive-species-report-published-19-21/
And remember, every time you get out of the water, or you take your boat or other equipment out, use Check, Clean, Dry to help stop the spread: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry/ . If you have a dog who loves water, giving them a clean/making sure they're dry before heading to the next watercourse for a walk and play will help, too.
Thanks for being the eyes and ears to help protect our native wildlife!
Volunteer for Shropshire Wildlife Trust: https://www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/volunteer
Find out more about what we do on the rivers: https://www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/rivers
With thanks to The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development for providing the funding to make this project possible, via the Water Environment Grant administered by Natural England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-environment-grant-weg-handbooks-guidance-and-forms/guide-for-applicants-water-environment-grant