Invasive species in the River Loddon Catchment

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust IAS Training Workshop

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are running a project which is taking place within the Loddon River Catchment area as part of the Loddon Catchment Partnership. Together with the Loddon Fisheries and Conservation Consultative we are undertaking a project to raise awareness of Invasive Non-Native species (INNS) in aquatic habitats in the Loddon Catchment.

INNS are a problem across much of the Loddon Catchment. It has been identified that trying to control INNS on a local level is of limited benefit due to recolonisation from surrounding areas. With this in mind we have identified the need for a catchment wide approach to the issue. The project aims to provide advice and training on control and disposal of INNS that are found in and next to the river environment. The primary focus of the project will be on the control of Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) but will also look at floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides), signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and American mink (Neovison vison). With this guidance landowners and communities will be able to contribute to mapping the current distribution of these species on the Living Record website and monitor the progress of their efforts in controlling these INNS.

INNS are a concern because they can be detrimental to our native species and habitats. For example, Himalayan balsam can tolerate low light levels and also shades out other vegetation, so gradually impoverishing habitats by out competing native flora. It is an annual and dies back in winter so can be particularly problematic on river banks where it leaves bare soil that is more prone to erosion, leading to increased sediment in the water course.

This project is being carried out through the Loddon Catchment Partnership under the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) which involves co-ordination from local communities, stakeholders, landowners and organisations in delivering actions that will help us address the issues facing our watercourses.The training is aimed at groups and individuals working on or near to watercourses, landowners whose land is adjacent or near to watercourses and those interested in conserving and enhancing our natural environment.

As part of the project, two training sessions on the identification and management of invasive non-native species in the catchment area, with the main focus being on Himalayan Balsam. One session will be held on Tuesday 20th October at Dinton Pastures Country Park from 5.30 – 7.30 pm and the other on Tuesday 15th March at Mapledurwell Village hall from 4-6pm. If you would like to attend you can download the form from here, indicate which session you are interested in by return of the form to the address at the botttom.

In addition, the project aims to gauge interest in the online recording of Himalayan balsam in the catchment. This would involve logging into the Living Record website and recording presence or absence of species. Training on species identification would be through the two workshops outlined above and training on how to use the website will be provided. If you are interested in this please indicate as appropriate on the enclosed return form. Further details will be provided nearer to the recording period.