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Aquatic Plants Invasive Species

Recent Headlines

“Eradicating Floating Pennywort”

“Invasive species causing

problems for flood


Aquatic plants are found in lakes, rivers and ponds across the UK, and play a vital role in all aquatic ecosystems. They produce oxygen, absorbing nutrients and helping to improve water quality, and stabilise lake shores and river banks, thereby protecting them from erosion. Aquatic plants provide food and important reproductive and cover habitats for fish, invertebrates, and wildlife. They also play an important role in supporting recreational activities such as fishing. Plants that have been

Eradicating Floating Pennywort

‘Battle commences’

A three year campaign has been started by the Environment Agency to eradicate the Floating Pennywort plant from the Rivers Tame and Trent in the Tamworth area.

Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle Ranunculoides) is an invasive, non-native plant, originating from North America, introduced to the UK in the 1980s. It forms dense mats of vegetation over the water’s surface and is extremely prolific, sometimes growing up to 20cm a day.


Environment Agency has contracted HFN Land- scapes to spray herbicides in order to tackle this problem before it gets too established.

Environment Agency Officer Alice Chapman said: “We are tackling the Floating Pennywort be- cause if it is left untreated, it has the potential to block flood defences, interfere with water based re- creation, and change the ecology of the area. It can also cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to control if not dealt with early on.”

The largest area of infestation is to be found in the Broad Meadow area of Tamworth, from the


Oxbridge opposite Blackfriars Close to the weir. The Floating Pennywort now extends down the River Tame and into the River Trent, with patches of the plant being observed in previous years at Hopwas, Elford and the River Trent in Burton on Trent.

The team will be out spraying every couple of weeks in the Broad Meadow area of Tamworth. They will then conduct surveys down the Tame and Trent to find and treat any colonies that may have been formed by break-away pieces from the main colony. This work will be part of an ongoing project, and it is estimated that complete eradication will take around three years.

The Environment Agency would like to urge members of the public not to put any plants or wildlife from their pond or fish tank into local watercourses. Many plants sold by the aquatic trade as oxygenators are non-native and can cause problems in our lakes, reservoirs and rivers.

same goes for any aquatic pets; non-

introduced to a place where they do not naturally occur are known as non-native species. Many of these live happily in the UK without causing a problem but a few become what's called invasive. They can upset the balance of the ecosystem as they may be bigger, faster growing or more aggressive than the native species. They may also have fewer natural predators to control numbers. The native species are often unable to compete and fairly quickly the invasive species take over.

native fish and terrapins are now found in our rivers and they can change the ecology and sometimes out-compete native species.

Anglers and water users can also help reduce the risk of spreading invasive species by making sure their equipment and clothing are not contaminated.

For companies that specialize in weed control equipment and services, please click here

For more information on aquatic plant manage- ment, visit the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, here

The Floating Pennywort data sheet can be found here: rogrammes/documents/Hy drocotyleranunculoides.pdf

Tailor made solutions for aquatic, riparian and invasive species management.

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Nature & the Environment

The Aquatic Plant Management Group

The Aquatic Plant Management Group (formerly Centre for Aquatic Plant Management) is the only research group working on aquatic plant management in the UK. The group is based at CEH'sWallingford site and is headed by Dr Jonathan Newman. It focuses on understanding the mechanisms that enable the successful spread of non-native aquatic plants on and the economic and environmental impacts of such species. They provide expert advice and information, on the ecology and control of aquatic weeds and riparian plants, to regulatory authorities, flood defence organisations and nature conservation organisations, so as to prevent the establishment of invasive non-native plant species. A full list of their data sheets on aquatic plant management can be found here: or on the CEH website at

The Robson Meeting

The Robson Meeting is a long standing interactive forum for discussion of aquatic weed and invasive species ecology and control issues.

It is recognised as the only such event of its type in Europe and the strong emphasis on discussion and interaction between different interest groups has always proved to be a positive benefit for making practical progress in waercourse management.

To be held on the: 28 - 29 February 2012 at: The Dolphin Hotel, St Ives, Cambs

For more information, visit:

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