Help us find the three most common non-native plants invading watercourses in the North Pennines.
We are fortunate that the spread of invasive plants in the North Pennines AONB has not reached as significant proportions than in the lower reaches of our catchments. However there are incidence of the most common non-native plants invading the edges of watercourses in the North Pennines. These species are a threat as they out-compete native plants.
As outbreaks often occur downstream of where the source of the problem lies, we have an opportunity in the head waters of the Eden, Wear, Tees and Tyne to spot any new outbreaks. Your sightings will help us build up a picture of the problem in the AONB, so that we can better understand how they spread.
Threat to Wildlife and the Community
Invasive species are considered to be the world’s greatest threat to biodiversity. However, it’s not just our wildlife that suffers; invasive non-native species can also have an impact on the way we live. Some species have a direct impact on our health such as Giant Hogweed, whilst others have less apparent, but just as serious effects on flooding and agriculture.
Identifying & Reporting Invasive Plants
To aid identification and a strategy for tackling invasive plants along our watercourses, we are prioritising sightings of the three most prolifically occurring species, Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed. Controlling their spread is a complex and costly challenge and we hope that raising awareness of invasive plants will help people respond locally, encouraging community vigilance. Identification sheets are provided below. You can report your sightings through WildWatch.
We are also sharing data with our Rivers Trusts, please see local contacts below. The Rivers Trusts can provide advice and guidance on catchment management and are particularly interested in new outbreaks of invasive plants where you may not have seen them in your patch before. You can find out more on invasive species at www.nonnativespecies.org
Stop the Spread
Remember to be vigilant about your activities around watercourses whether enjoying canoeing or simply walking along our riverbanks, you may unknowingly contribute to spreading invasive aquatic species. Rinsing equipment and boots after use can help. For more information on being plant wise click Stop the Spread.