Invasive species

  1. Rail engineers join Cumbrian fight against invasive balsam

    Volunteers from Network Rail have joined a Cumbrian rivers trust to try and stop the damage caused by Himalayan balsam, one of Britain’s most invasive alien plant species.

    They've worked with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust to halt the plant's spread at Troutbeck and on the River Kent in Kendal.

    The balsam, imported for gardens nearly 200 years ago, can grow to almost 10ft (3m) tall, overshadowing all other plants, and it was threatening to damage flood protection work done by the trust.

    Network Rail got involved because one problem area was along a rail embankment through Kendal.

    Man with balsam
  2. Guernsey traps catch 20 Asian hornet queens

    Asian hornet traps in the Bailiwick have already caught 20 queens so far this year, Guernsey's Asian Hornet Team has revealed.

    In a post on social media, the team said traps were being "continually" improved and modified to "minimise the risks of catching other insects".

    As the spring queening phase comes to an end, with queens remaining in their primary nests before moving to larger ones, the team said they have moved to the "Track don't Trample" phase of the year.

    This means traps will be collected in from this weekend, while reported sightings will be used to track worker hornets back to their nests, the team confirmed.

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  3. Rivers group praises volunteers in balsam battle

    Just one volunteer helping remove a species of invasive weed from riverbanks could prevent 8,000 plants from seeding next year, according to a Cumbrian conservation charity.

    Eden Rivers Trust organises groups of people to try to get rid of Himalayan Balsam from beside tributaries of the Eden.

    Himalayan Balsam

    The trust relies on dozens of volunteers to help destroy the balsam which infests riverbanks, swamping all other plant life and Jenny Payne, who co-ordinates the teams, says they are essential help given the huge size of the Eden rivers catchment.

    Quote Message: Each one of these plants can produce about 800 seeds, so if the people who are here today just pull 10 plants, that's 8,000 plants saved per person that's here." from Jenny Payne
    Jenny Payne
  4. How to save the red squirrel

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    Video caption: MPs debate how to save the native red squirrel
  5. Invasive weed 'affects whole Lakes ecology'

    An invasive water weed from New Zealand, which is threatening to spread throughout the Lake District, is a threat to far more than just other plants, according to a Cumbrian-based scientist.

    Swimmer in Derwentwater

    The National Trust says dense mats of New Zealand Pygmy Weed have already overwhelmed six other plant species on the bed of Derwentwater, and staff are urging swimmers and water sports enthusiasts to make sure they wash equipment before moving to another lake.

    Louise Lavictoire from the Freshwater Biological Association says the threat is potentially wide-ranging.

    Quote Message: It can affect all of the other species from the tiny wee plankton to all the way up to fish and birds that feed on organisms in the lakes as well" from Louise Lavictoire
    Louise Lavictoire
    Quote Message: Having a degraded ecosystem, especially in somewhere as amazing as the Lake District National Park, has far-reaching impacts for humans as well."
  6. Trust urges swimmers to wash gear as invasive weed spreads

    Ewan Murrie

    Reporter

    Underwater plants in the Lake District are under threat from an invasive species, according to the National Trust

    New Zealand Pygmy Weed has already killed off some native plants in Derwentwater and the trust is worried that it could be inadvertently spread to other lakes nearby.

    Hands holding NZ pygmy weed

    The trust says minute fragments of the weed can be carried on equipment such as swimwear, wetsuits, canoes and inflatables, but simple precautions such as allowing the gear to dry out, or washing it between uses, can prevent contamination.

    Jessie Binns from the trust says lakes such as Crummock Water, Buttermere and Loweswater can still be protected, but that on Derwentwater, dense mats of the weed have already formed across a lot of the lake bed.

    Quote Message: By 2003, nine species of our native species had already been shoved out." from Jessie Binns National Trust
    Jessie BinnsNational Trust
  7. Using drones to target alien species in the countryside

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    Video caption: A look at the technology being deployed in the fight against invasive species.
  8. Battering invasive balsam wins Tony national park award

    A Lake District volunteer has been given an award recognising his outstanding contribution to the national park.

    Tony Corbett

    Tony Corbett, from Helton near Penrith, has been volunteering for the past 20 years and one of his main passions has been working to remove an invasive weed called Himalayan Balsam, especially from the shores of Ullswater.

    The National Park authority presented him with the Bryan Stilling Award at the annual gathering of volunteers.