This Invasive Species Week West Cumbria Rivers Trust are asking anglers, paddlers, boaters, swimmers and all water users to make sure they check, clean and dry their equipment when they leave the water.
New Zealand Pigmyweed is an invasive species that spreads easily- with just a 2cm fragment hitch-hiking a ride in someone’s wetsuit enough to spread it to another site! This pesky invasive can dominate whole lakes by creating dense mats which outcompete all other native species. Within 7 years of becoming established in Derwentwater it has displaced 9 native species. It’s so important that we work together to prevent the spread of New Zealand Pigmyweed through making sure everyone checks, cleans and dries their equipment before leaving an area.
To practise biosecurity properly, West Cumbria Rivers Trust recommend that you check all clothing, footwear and equipment for plant fragments and living organisms before leaving a waterbody, with particular attention being paid to crevices and hard to inspect areas. Next, all equipment should be cleaned on site to prevent removal to another area. If this is not possible, kit should be cleaned on a hard surface away from all drainage systems. Finally, all equipment should be fully dried before moving to the next waterbody, as some species can survive for up to 3 weeks in damp conditions.
Izzie Mullin, Invasive Species Assistant Project Officer said: “We want everyone in the Lake District to be able to enjoy our Lakes and Waters, but can only do so with the help of every single person who comes through our area. It is more important now than ever to get the message out on stopping the spread and introduction of invasive species as visitor numbers continue to increase. We need to work together to #SpreadTheWordNotTheWeed.”