By Jo Moseley
As paddleboarders, we have a unique opportunity to enjoy our inland waterways, be that canals, rivers, lochs or lakes. As spring has arrived and with more of us out on the water, ensuring we don’t transfer invasive non-native species (INNS) from one body of water is very important.
INNS are plants and animals that have been introduced into our waterways, intentionally or unintentionally, from outside their natural geographic area. Many are harmless, but some can create significant environmental damage, kill native wildlife and cause biodiversity loss. British Canoeing estimates the number to be 2000 plants and animals from all over the world. If you have ever tried paddling through floating pennywort, you’ll also know it’s not fun! There is also Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed, water fern and Parrot’s Feather. Killer shrimps and Signal crayfish pose a risk to native invertebrates, fish and plants.
How can we help?
- Make sure we follow the ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ guide every time we leave the water, including removing anything on our boards before we leave the site. Did you know some species can survive for up to two weeks in damp conditions?
- Volunteer with British Canoeing, the Angling Trust, Canal & Rivers Trust, or a local SUP or canoe club to remove INNS from your local waterway.