Invasive weeds: Guidance for the control of invasive weeds in or near fresh water

Foreword

Our native flora and fauna represent a wealth of diversity within the distinctive character of the wildlife habitats that we all appreciate. Many species have been introduced either deliberately or accidentally since Roman times and some of these have added to the character of the countryside and, more often, our towns and gardens. Victorians were obsessed by the beauty and structure of wild plants and introduced many species from the furthest corners of the British Empire. We live today with the consequences of some of these introductions, which have thrived in our climate and environment.

In more recent times, there has been an unprecedented increase in the rate of new species being brought into the  country, many associated with water. Some introductions give considerable cause for concern and action needs to be  taken. Environment Agency staff are dealing with more and more requests for advice from members of the public and organisations about how they should deal with such species.

Problems caused by introduced water and waterside plants include blockage of drainage channels, ousting native vegetation, deoxygenation causing fish mortalities, limiting safe access to water and, in some cases, posing significant health risks to the public and livestock.

Important research on how to minimise the impacts of invasive plants is being carried out by the Centre for Aquatic Plant Management. Their experience and technical expertise has been instrumental in compiling this booklet which focuses on those bankside and aquatic species that are causing most concern and generate the most enquiries.

I hope that you will find the information in this booklet useful.

Barbara Young
Chief Executive of the Environment Agency

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