Non-Native Invasive Species (INNS) are plants or animals that have been introduced to an area where they don’t naturally appear, either on purpose or accidentally by human activity. Along the Aire and within the catchment, you may be able to spot some Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and North American Signal Crayfish. These species have the ability to spread very quickly becoming the dominant species within the area or habitat they take over. Not only does this have hostile impacts on the environment and ecology, they also have economic and human health impacts.
INNS Mapper is another great tool for reporting INNS sightings. Unlike the sadly no longer funded Plant Tracker app, this is better to use when you get home rather than on the go. All you need to do is follow the link below and it will take you to the website.
The site is used by local action groups or organisations tackling INNS.
The site is straight forward to use and they have tutorial videos you can watch to help you along the way found under ‘How to Guides’. All you need to do is set up a free account with them, make sure you’ve got the coordinates of where the species you spotted was and what the species is! There is an opportunity too add pictures to your survey should you wish. Below are some of the pages you'll expect too see on INNS Mapper.
Alternatively, report to us!
There are a few things we can do to help fight Invasive Species. During the summer months, we take groups of volunteers to ‘Balsam Bash’ along the riverbanks. This is a highly effective way of removing the plant from the area. It has been a great success at Kirkstall Abbey where we were a couple of weeks ago. In place of the Balsam, a great array of wildflowers and other plants have flourished!
Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are treated professionally. They require being sprayed or injected with chemicals to remove them. This is done on the main river by the River Stewardship Company in Leeds and YorGreen in Bradford. However, some of our staff are trained to do this and we help Friends of Bradford Beck treat their catchment. If you see any, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more general advice follow the link below to the Gov.uk website to learn more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prevent-the-spread-of-harmful-invasive-and-non-native-plants
Equally, you could contact the Environment Agency with any concerns or queries regarding Invasive Non-Native Species:
Telephone 03708 506 506