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Transcript
SBRI Competition Summary:
Managing aquatic Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) and improving the
regeneration of native species and soil health following INNS control work.
Background
Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) affect economic interests and quality of life by
fouling intakes and other structures and by damaging, destabilising or obstructing
floodbanks, paths and other assets which can increase flood risk and soil erosion
and prevent people from accessing or enjoying their local areas. Through predation
and outcompeting other organisms they have major detrimental impacts on native
species including commercial fisheries.
While there are some general INNS management tools, more specific tools and
techniques for aquatic INNS are relatively limited. This is particularly so for species
like signal crayfish, Chinese mitten crab, Zebra and Quagga mussels and the ‘Killer
shrimp’. We are looking for more effective control or management solutions that can
be more widely applied – either for a specific species or a wider range of INNS.
The natural environment is an extremely valuable resource. INNS are a direct threat
to this with CABI estimating INNS costing the UK economy over £1.7 billion every
year. The risks, impacts and subsequent management costs are expected to
increase as global trade and climate change influences enable existing and new
INNS to establish and spread more readily.
The Competition partners (Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency,
CABI, Welsh Government and DEFRA) are aware there may be tools or techniques
within other sectors that could be developed to provide new and more effective
aquatic INNS control solutions.
Biocides have been successfully used to control terrestrial pests and more efficient,
less environmentally damaging chemicals are now used but these advances have
not been mirrored in the aquatic environment. Trapping has limited success
especially as it’s difficult to know all organisms have been or will be caught and
current techniques are potentially time-consuming and long-term activities. The
Marine Pathways Project includes research into potential control measures for
Chinese mitten crab but has not resulted in any solutions.
The ‘Phone apps’ and online recording systems for ad hoc ‘citizen science’ reporting
are less effective for routine monitoring or for early detection at potential entry points
such as ships, ports and other transport nodes. Environmental DNA work has been
used to detect other species but currently here are no current applications for aquatic
INNS.
While control or eradication may be successful for some plant INNS, these activities
can leave ‘ecological gaps’ until treated habitats can readjust. This ‘gap’ presents its
own risks by allowing other INNS or monocultures to fill it. Japanese Knotweed,
Himalayan balsam and rhododendron degrade soil structure and reduce the ability of
native plants to re-establish. Controlling these INNS can also result in degraded
visual amenity and increased soil erosion for example.
The Challenge
We want to reduce or prevent the spread of and ideally eliminate existing INNS; we
also want to reduce the likelihood of new INNS introductions. This includes
controlling or eradicating INNS to protect specific areas such as riverbanks,
waterways and other assets at risk of colonisation.
We need to detect INNS before or at the point of entry into Wales and the UK, to
improve detection of existing INNS and to quickly predict or map likely invasion
areas and colonisation rates.
We need to detect, map, remove or restrict spread and protect assets in ways that
are easy to apply, have minimal environmental impact, are low-cost to use and
consistently effective. There are a wide range of places where these needs apply
including, rivers, lakes or estuaries and associated structures and equipment
including water intakes, floodbanks, weirs, moorings, boat hulls and engines etc.
We want to maximise the regeneration of native species and improve soil health
following INNS control and we need effective tools or techniques to help with this.
Key questions  How can we reduce or prevent the spread of invasive species like signal
crayfish or Quagga mussel or the others mentioned earlier?

What tools or techniques can be developed for widespread use to more
efficiently and effectively detect and contain or eradicate INNS or will improve
the regeneration of native species?

How could we protect or adapt places or assets including waterways, flood
banks, intakes or boat hulls etc from colonisation?
We will use a series of metrics and measures to identify whether solutions put
forward would be commercially viable, sustainable, cost effective and efficient.
Depending on the intended objectives of each proposal, applicants will need to
demonstrate the above using a mix of metrics including for example:
1.
Unit cost of proposed solution vs. current unit cost of management. (The
measure a proposer should use for a river based solution could be for example
cost/km and metric £GBP.)
and/or
2.
Success rate per unit vs. current success rate. (For example for a river-based
solution this could be % success rate per km.)
and/or
3.
Length of time (eg months) for solution to achieve the objective vs. the length
of time current techniques take.
Successful outcomes from this Competition would mean more effective and targeted
INNS management work and maximising the benefits from improved asset or site
protection, reduced flood risk, improved amenities and stronger native species
populations including commercial fisheries.
We would expect to see applicants evidence at least two of the above together with
baseline data for any current techniques which we would then use to monitor
progress and assess eventual outcomes.