We are working in partnership with South West Water to help protect our sites from the impacts of invasive non-native species.

Are you concerned about invasive plants blocking waterways or signal crayfish impacting our lakes? Of the 2000+ non-native plants and animals introduced to the UK by people, most are harmless, but approximately 10-15% have become invasive. They have a negative impact on our environment, our economy (costing the UK economy at least £1.8 billion a year), and even our health and way of life. 

Click here to read our signal crayfish statement.

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are a particular threat to lakes and rivers and can interfere with recreational activities, such as angling and water sports. Click here for details of some of the most problematic invasive species.

ID sheets are available on the GB non-native species secretariat website, which provide identification assistance for INNS.

Download the latest issue of the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat Newsletter here.

The e-learning page on the GBNNSS website is also a useful resource. 

Biosecurity means taking steps to reduce the risk of spreading INNS through good hygiene practices. Sometimes small and hard to spot, they are easily spread on damp clothing and equipment. Once established, they become extremely difficult and expensive to eradicate so it is important to prevent their spread in the first place.

Help us protect the lakes and the activities we enjoy by following some simple steps to keep your kit, footwear and clothing free of invasive plants and animals.

Whenever you leave the lakes, remember to Check, Clean, Dry

  • Check your equipment, boat and clothing after leaving the water for mud, aquatic animals or plant material. Remove anything you find and leave it at the site.
  • Clean everything thoroughly as soon as you can, paying attention to areas that are damp and hard to access. Use hot water if possible.
  • Dry everything for as long as possible (ideally 48hrs) before using elsewhere as some invasive plants and animals can survive for two weeks in damp conditions.

Biosecurity for anglers

Biosecurity for watersports

Biosecurity for field workers

In order to help improve biosecurity at the lakes, South West Lakes are taking part in the AQUA biosecurity accreditation scheme. This regional pilot trial, run by the Bristol Zoological Society (alongside South West Water and the Animal and Plant Health Agency), through RAPID LIFE (a 3-year EU LIFE project), is designed to help reduce the spread of INNS within the UK.  

The three levels of the award, bronze, silver and gold, provide recognition that we are actively conserving the lake to maximise native aquatic diversity. 

Site Guardians

Volunteer Site Guardians, alongside our Invasive Species Officer, James Fantom, are helping to monitor the lakes and actively encourage visitors to carry out effective biosecurity. More information on the scheme.

Do you love the lakes? Would you like to help protect your local lake? Our volunteer Site Guardians play a vital role in helping to monitor their local lake for invasive non-native species which can become problematic for angling, paddle sports, sailing and of course native biodiversity. Animals such as the signal crayfish and plants such as Australian swamp stonecrop alter habitats, outcompete native species and hinder recreational activities. By increasing awareness of good biosecurity and working with scientists and our volunteers to prevent the spread of invasive non-native species, we are working to find solutions to the issues caused by invasive species and safeguard the future of the lakes. South West Lakes Invasive Species Officer James Fantom would love to hear from anyone who regularly visits any of our lakes and would like to help. No experience is necessary and you will be provided with full training and all the resources you need to play your part in helping to look after the lakes.

For more information on biosecurity and invasive non-native species at the lakes or for more details about becoming an AQUA Site Guardian please contact our Invasive Species Officer James Fantom – [email protected]