Southern Water Invests to Battle Invasive Species

Giant Hogweed - a dangeros invasive species - its sap causes burns

Alien species are assailing our island home - but Southern Water is investing to protect our environment from harmful invaders and working in partnership to stop the spread of Invasive Non-Native Species. 

"Invasive Non-Native Species Week will take place between the 24th and 30th of May this and is an important time to raise awareness of the harm invasive species can do - and what we can all do to check their spread," said Tom Alexander, one of Southern Water's team of ecologists. 

"We're involved in projects costing £30,000 across the region designed to halt the spread of the most damaging, including ground breaking trials designed to slow down New Zealand Pygmy weed by using a mite which feeds on the plant - but not on our native species, and similar trials to tackle floating pennywort - a river killer," he added. 

We have already invested £55,000 in a less scientifically intriguing but fundamentally important project - supporting the ‘Check Clean and Dry' campaign aimed at anglers and boaters and we'll be spending the same again in the coming years. 

"Getting kayakers, paddle boarders and anglers to inspect the equipment after use, to clean it up and to recognise water borne invasive species is crucial work in stopping the spread of threats such as the Demon Shrimp so I'm delighted that we will be investing a further £55,000 on promoting check clean and dry," he said. 

Southern Water will also be training staff on recognising INNS and mapping and tracking the spread so that we can take effective measures to reduce spread or eliminate where possible. 

Currently the five most feared invasive species for Southern Water are:

  • New Zealand Pygmy Weed - a fast growing plant which harms aquatics habitats growing both on banks and in the water.
  • Himalayan Balsam - a pretty flower but it grows rapidly choking other flora and can damage river banks
  • Japanese knot weed - a greatly feared INNS which can burrow through concrete
  • Giant Hogweed - this striking plant has sap which causes serious burns in contact with skin and sunlight
  • Floating Pennywort - a weed which chokes up streams and rivers and destroy local eco systems.


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