Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) – keep a look out for those Aliens! They have a major impact on our waterways and you can make a difference.
What are Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)?
Ever since the first explorers sailed the seven seas, people have brought unusual plants and animals into this country. Many were brought in to enhance private land or out of idle curiosity.
Today we live with the consequences of their actions. The grey squirrel was introduced and now our native red squirrel has all but disappeared. Japanese Knotweed brought in to add a different dimension to the gardens of the wealthy has become a notifiable species.
Still it infests large parts of the country and it is almost impossible to destroy. And, these are just two examples of Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) that have been brought in to our country and have upset the ecosystem.
What have Invasive Non Native Species got to do with me?
You may well think – what has it got to do with me? Well not only do a number of these alien species detrimentally impact our native species, but they have a massive impact on our waterways.
Several plant species cause major headaches to navigation authorities. They spend £25 million per year in clearing these plants. They can totally block waterways and prevent the commercial and recreational use of these waters.
Still today people bring into the country alien species of plants and animals without considering their impact. Even within our country we can unwittingly transfer species from one area to another.
The very nature of canoeing is that the craft if highly transportable and can go from one water course to another and one country to another.
What can I do as a paddler or coach to help?
Promote check, clean, dry! Help stop the spread of invasive non native species. Regardless of the type of paddling you do, the chances are that you take your canoe/kayak on to different watercourses where there is a chance you may come in contact with these harmful species.
- Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms
- Your equipment – pay particular attention to areas that are damp and hard to inspect such as the bow and stern of the boat, under the seats and rims and behind buoyancy bags and foot rests.
- Your clothing- check folds of cagoules, buoyancy aids, spray-decks, throw-lines, and the clothes you wear under your cagoules .
- Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly
- If you do come across any organisms, do not take them home and if they are notifiable – Report Them!
- Use tap water to clean your boat. In times of drought you will have to do this by watering cans and buckets. Take water with you so Plan Ahead!
- Dry all equipment and clothing – some species can live for many days in moist conditions. If it’s a warm sunny day, leave your boat out in the sun to dry – along with your extra kit.
- If the sun won’t help then do dry your kit with towels etc … they will need to be washed after use (unless you can dry them out properly between uses). You might need to think of innovative ways of reaching inside the end of your boat but it’s important to do so.
- Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.