Invasive Non-Native Species Workshop

NWS organised a training workshop, well attended by 17 NWT/NWS staff and volunteers, at Bewick House in Norwich.  The workshop was led by Mike Sutton-Croft and Ed Stocker from Norfolk Non-native Species Initiative, who gave an informative talk on the risks and impacts associated with these species, as well as how to control them.  The Initiative, launched in 2008, monitors the spread of non-native species in the county and develops action plans for those priority species of most urgent concern.

Although not all non-native species could be covered, the morning focused on key species like Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, floating pennywort, mink and signal crayfish.  We looked at species identification, how they colonise and management options for their removal.  Case studies included the complete eradication of floating pennywort on the Waveney and the control of Himalyan balsam on the River Wensum.

Mike also talked about the European RINSE Project (= “Reducing the Impact of Non-Native Species in Europe”), a project area spanning parts of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain, which aims to exchange experiences on how invasive non-native species are managed.   The project has developed a new phone app called “That’s Invasive!” http://www.rinse-europe.eu/smartphone-apps to identify invasive species and register findings, helping to control their spread in East Anglia.

Tony Leech, an attendee at the workshop commented “It’s been a good morning – the practical approach was good and news that action could be effective is encouraging, especially for Himalyan balsam and giant hogweed.  I was reminded of the importance of putting in records for invasive non-natives in Norfolk and intend to do so!”

Details of further training courses over the summer are posted on our website www.norfolkwildlifeservices.co.uk.  Upcoming events include Aquatic Plants on 23 July and Water Vole Ecology and Surveys on 27 August.

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