Now the growing season is here, be alert for Invasive and Non-Native Species (also called INNS for short).
There are dozens of different plant and animal species which are regarded a nuisance and may not be released or caused to grow in the wild but the most common offenders are relatively easy to spot and often associated with river corridors. A useful reference website is that of the Invasive and Non-Native Species Association (INNSA) which can be found at http://www.innsa.org/ INNSA is the industry body for companies involved in controlling and eradicating invasive non-native species in the UK.
On the Derwent Catchment we have particular issues with Giant Hogweed (known for its toxic sap and enormous size), Himalayan Balsam (which smothers native flora of riverbanks and has ‘explosive’ seed pods) and in places Japanese Knotweed (highly invasive and damaging to structures in built -up areas). All three can be treated so long as locations are known. A handy app for mobile phones and tablets such as Plant Tracker http://www.planttracker.org.uk helps identify the culprits and report the sighting and GPS location to relevant authorities and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) which keeps tabs on them. The Plant Tracker website also shows where other sightings have been reported using the app. Plant Tracker uses the phone’s GPS facility to identify your location, or you can pinpoint your sighting on the map, take a photo of the plant, record the size of the clump and even register any control measures taken on the plant at that location.
Here are some more useful links on Invasive and Non-Native Species :
http://www.nonnativespecies.org GB Non Native Species Secretariat
http://www.ywt.org.uk/invasives Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum (led by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, with partners including the Environment Agency, DEFRA and Calder & Colne Rivers Trust.)
http://www.ywt-data.org.uk/inns-mapper INNS-Mapper project by YISF (Current focus on S and W Yorks. but hoping to go Yorkshire-wide in 2016)
https://www.facebook.com/YWTInvasives Facebook page for the YWTs invasive species project.
http://www.nonnativespecies.org/elearning/ Test your knowledge on Invasive species.