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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Stop the spread of invasive aquatic species

Some non-native aquatic plants and animals can be harmful to British wildlife and waterways. They can be spread on boats, equipment, footwear and clothes when people move from place to place. Help stop the spread by following three simple steps: check, clean and dry equipment when you leave the water.

Why invasive aquatic species are a problem

Invasive non-native species can have a damaging impact on British plants, animals and ecosystems. They can spread disease, prey on native species and compete with them for food and living space.

Plants that grow quickly can block waterways, while some animals can destroy riverbanks. What's more, dealing with the problem of non-native species can be very expensive. 

If you are a water user, you may unknowingly be helping to spread invasive species from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing.

Help stop this from happening by following three simple steps: check, clean and dry equipment before leaving the water.

How to stop the spread

You can help protect the water sports you love by following three simple steps when you leave the water:

Check you're not carrying living organisms

1. Check

  • Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms
  • Pay particular attention to areas that are damp and hard to inspect

Clean all equipment, clothing and shoes

2. Clean

  • Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly
  • If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them

Dry equipment and clothing carefully

3. Dry

  • Dry all equipment and clothing - some species can live for many days in moist conditions
  • Make sure you don't transfer water elsewhere

Invasive species to look out for

Killer shrimp, floating pennywort, zebra mussels, water primrose and quagga mussels are five examples of invasive species that can harm native wildlife.

For more information on these and other species, including key identifying features, photos and videos, follow the link below to 'How to identify invasive species'.

If you come across an invasive species, you should report it. You can do this using the link 'Report a sighting of an invasive species'.

Additional links

Greener gardening

Go greener in your garden - from composting to better use of water

Check, clean, dry

Stop the spread of invasive species: check, clean and dry equipment on leaving the water

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