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Unique washdown facility to protect against invasive species at Devon’s largest lake

11th August 2021

Angling and water sports visitors to Devon’s largest lake are being urged to help protect native wildlife, recreational activities and the water supply by using a new, first of its kind washdown facility.

Installed by South West Water in partnership with South West Lakes, the Environment Agency and Tecker, the washdown facility at Roadford Lake was officially opened by television wildlife presenter and author Nick Baker.

The equipment is designed to protect the lake, which is located on the Devon and Cornwall border and holds around 34,500 million litres of water, from the negative impacts of invasive non-native species. These species are animals or plants that have been brought to the UK from other countries by human action (intentionally or accidentally) and have a negative impact on our environment, economy or health.

Roadford Lake’s upgrade from traditional washdown facilities offers a range of new features including boat and watercraft washdown, angling dip tanks, boot scrapers and even a stand-up paddleboard inflation/deflation point. Visitors are being asked to use the facilities before and after entering the lake to prevent introducing new invasives or spreading them to other areas.

South West Water’s Biosecurity and Invasive Non-Native Species Manager, Kate Hills, explained: “One of the top five threats to biodiversity, invasive non-native species can also affect native wildlife, restrict recreational activities, and have a significant impact on the water industry. South West Water is one of the leaders in the water industry in tackling this issue.

“Aquatic invasives are particularly problematic and we are lucky we don’t currently have serious invasives at Roadford, such as Killer shrimp, Quagga mussels or Floating pennywort. These facilities aim to prevent the introduction of them and to prevent costly, long-term management.”

Nick Baker, who has lived in Devon for 31 years, said: ‘Britain has some wonderful wildlife, but invasive species can have such a negative impact because they can outcompete our native wildlife, are highly mobile, have a high reproductive rate and are generalists with a range of food sources. It's great to see facilities like this working to prevent the spread of invasives and protect this fantastic lake.” 

Lisa Tame, Environment and Engagement Director at South West Lakes, which manages the angling and water sports activities on the lake, said: “We are urging recreational visitors to Roadford to use this new facility. Following the easing of lockdown restrictions there has been a huge influx of new visitors to the region and it has never been more timely to take measures to protect wildlife and ensure a safe water supply.”

Lake users such as kayakers, anglers and stand up paddle boarders can help by remembering to Check, Clean, Dry:

Check – equipment and clothing for live organisms, particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect

Clean – and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly, using hot water wherever possible. If you come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them

Dry – all equipment and clothing, some species can live for many days in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water anywhere else.

For further information please contact:

South West Water