Invasive species Week 2019, beginning on Monday 13th May, is a joint initiative led by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat. Working in partnership with South West Water, we will be delivering a series of events and activities at various lakes to raise awareness of the impacts of invasive species and how visitors to the lakes can help prevent their introduction and spread.

Approximately 2000 non-native plants and animals from all over the world have been introduced to the UK by people. Most non-native species are harmless, but approximately 10-15% have become invasive, having a negative impact on our environment, economy (costing the UK economy at least £1.8 billion a year), and even our health and way of life.

In Britain, invasive species have caused dramatic declines of some native species including the water vole, white-clawed crayfish, and red squirrel. They threaten many key sites and are a particular threat in sensitive areas, such as offshore islands, rivers, lakes and streams. Invasive species can also interfere with recreational activities: for example, invasive aquatic plants block waterways, preventing anglers, boaters and paddlers from using them.

Nicola Morris, Invasive Species Officer at South West Lakes Trust, is organising activities and talks to raise awareness of the issues of invasive species and explain what people can do to help. The programme is extensive to reach as many visitors as possible, beginning with an information stand at Stithians Open Day on May 12th.

We are hosting the South West Invasive Species Forum on Monday 13th May, 9.30 – 16.00, with Forum members from across the South West region coming together at Roadford Lake for a day of talks and regional updates. A biosecurity demonstration at the Roadford Activity Centre will highlight the importance of good biosecurity in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species. This event is suitable for anyone working in the environment. Kate Hills, Invasive Non-Native Species Ecologist at South West Water, said, “We are excited to be co-hosting the third South West Invasives Forum. We are looking at local issues, such as is Japanese knotweed our biggest problem, regional issues with the development of the new SW Regional Invasive Management Plan, and national concerns with a key speaker from the National Bee Unit talking the Asian hornet. There will be interesting discussions and anyone is welcome to join us.” 

On Saturday 18th May, visit Siblyback Lake for Meet the Aliens! This fun, fact-filled event is suitable for all the family and will involve talks and children’s activities with an invasive species theme. Interactive activities will include Alien Top Trumps, the Zebra Mussel game, a Fish for Invasives game and an Alien Seed activity. There will also be lots of information about invasive species and what can be done to help protect our fragile environment for future generations.

Burrator will also be holding an INNS family activity session on Sunday 19th May as part their monthly wildlife watch programme. Join an indoor workshop of children’s games and activities with an invasive species theme, followed by a trail through the grounds to hunt for clues. See if you can solve the alien detective challenge! £3 per child, £2 per adult. No booking needed.

For more information on upcoming events, click here, call 01566 771930 and keep an eye on daily social media updates at @InvasiveSp.

All records of invasive non-native species at South West Lakes Trust sites should be sent to Nicola at [email protected]