Biosecurity measures are crucial to avoid spreading non-native plants and animals.
We recently came across American Signal Crayfish in a woodland watercourse in England.
The American Signal Crayfish is a very distinctive, ‘lobster-like’ creature introduced to Britain over 20 years ago for fish farming.
They are very destructive to native freshwater life, feeding on fish eggs, small fish, other crustaceans and vegetation. They burrow 3 metres into riverbanks causing bank erosion. Removal can be expensive.
American Signal Crayfish are very resilient and will voluntarily leave the water to travel over land in search of food or new habitat.
Eggs and juveniles of American Signal Crayfish (ASC) can be trapped in mud and transported off-site on machinery, then fall off and spread to other waters.
To avoid the spread of invasive non-native species on all forestry sites, remember to:
✓ Scrape, brush or knock soil and debris from your boots and clothing before leaving any site. Make a clean start every day.
✓ Clean and disinfect chainsaws and other cutting tools as part of routine maintenance.
✓ Clean machinery regularly to avoid spreading material to new areas.
✓ Brush or knock off any build-up of soil and debris on vehicles and machinery, including cabs and footwells, before leaving any site.
✓ Use proper off-site wash down facilities regularly.
✓ Arrive at a new site with power-hosed cleaned down equipment and vehicles.
More information on Biosecurity is found on the GOV.UK Website including Forestry Commission’s Keep it Clean tools: www.gov.uk
The Know the Rules booklet covering Biosecurity good practice is found on Confor’s website: www.confor.org.uk
NRW’s Keep the Forest in the Forest information on biosecurity is found on their website: naturalresources.wales