South Scotland

Invasive species project launched in south of Scotland

Fishery board officials clearing an area of Japanese hogweed
Japanese knotweed is one of the species being targeted

A fresh assault has been launched on invasive non-native species in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has announced a project to tackle the spread of harmful plants and animals in river catchment areas.

Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed, American mink and signal crayfish are among the species being targeted.

The project will include controlling measures on the Nith and Annan rivers.

Those measures will be undertaken by two project officers working for the Annan and Nith district salmon fishery boards.

The INNS project will dovetail with work the Galloway Fisheries Trust is also about to start on other smaller river catchments in Dumfries and Galloway.

INNS is part of Sepa's Dumfries and Galloway catchment management initiative, which has brought together local organisations to help tackle the problem.

Robert Kerr of Sepa said: "The issue of invasive species is a national one, threatening biodiversity across the UK.

"Their ability to aggressively colonise many areas has resulted in damage to our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.

"It is essential that everyone understands the problems caused by these species and how to help prevent their increase. We must all share responsibility for this issue."

A project leaflet has been published to help identify the three main plants in this project, which is available from Sepa and partner organisations.

The leaflet has tips on the best methods of control and prevention of spread and includes a postcard to enable people to report any sightings.

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