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Giant crayfish sculpture installed at Roadford reservoir

13th May 2019

Roadford reservoir has an eye-catching new resident – a six-foot wooden sculpture of an American signal crayfish.

The sculpture has been installed by South West Water and South West Lakes Trust to raise awareness of the presence of American signal crayfish at Roadford and to remind recreational water users at the site to carry out biosecurity measures to prevent the invasive non-native species from spreading further.

It was made from pencil cedar by a chainsaw sculptor from Greenspace Designs, near Okehampton, and installed at the reservoir on the first day of Invasives Species Week (13 to 17 May).

Kate Hills, Biosecurity and Invasives Manager at South West Water, explained: “American signal crayfish are considered the main cause of the rapid decline of the native white-clawed crayfish. They are omnivorous and voracious feeders that out-compete our native crayfish. Furthermore, they carry a deadly disease, crayfish plague, which kills native crayfish.

“Signal crayfish also have major negative impacts in freshwater habitats, including eating fish eggs and smaller fish, and their burrowing activities damage bankside habitats causing silt to enter reservoirs, which affects water quality.

“South West Water is working closely with a range of partners to raise awareness of the problems signal crayfish create, to prevent their spread from our sites and to determine the impact of the species in the South West.

“Alongside South West Lakes Trust, the Environment Agency and the South West Crayfish Partnership among others, our key aim is to promote good biosecurity and to encourage water users to Check, Clean, Dry. This year we will also be installing new wash down facilities at Roadford Activity Centre where people can clean their kit before leaving site.”

South West Lakes Trust’s new Invasive Species Officer, Nicola Morris, will be working closely with angers, kayakers, sailors and other recreational visitors to Roadford during Invasive Species Week and beyond. A key aim will be to raise awareness of the issues of invasive species and explain what people can do to help.

Nicola said: “Anglers are our eyes and ears on the ground and in fact it was a local angler that first identified we had American signal crayfish at one of our reservoirs. We are planning a series of workshops with anglers, and other groups such as sailors, to work out how we can all carry out biosecurity effectively.”

Notes to editors

For more information about American signal crayfish see: https://www.naturaldevon.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Signal-Crayfish-DISI-Species-Factsheet.pdf

Download and view a video of Kate Hills and Nicola Morris talking about invasive non-native species here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3wrqc3muq6urajj/AABuoBzGjtasBAnIIQ5jwqK4a?dl=0

For more information about Invasive Species Week, led by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat, see: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/invasivespeciesweek

For further information please contact:

South West Water