Floating Pennywort – Progress in the Loddon Catchment
Farnham Angling Society assists the Environment Agency in tackling an invasive species.
Tackling the invasive species Floating Pennywort is a priority because it damages aquatic ecosystems and increases flood risk. Once established the costs to control it are significant. For example on the River Mole, costs to control Floating Pennywort have exceeded £1 million in ten years. In addition, a recent report indicated that Floating Pennywort control incurs annual costs to the national economy of around £25 million.
Thames West region of the Environment Agency recently had their first reports of Floating Pennywort in the River Loddon catchment and have been working to eradicate before it establishes. This rapid response, in collaboration with local groups, reduces the impacts on the environment and saves long-term costs of removal. Although Floating Pennywort can be found across the South East region it has, apparently, only just appeared in the Loddon catchment, specifically on the River Blackwater.
Thanks to the efforts of Farnham Angling Society, combined with help of six volunteers from the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, a large pond which was jammed full of Pennywort has now been cleared; this will help to prevent it spreading into the river and therefore into the rest of the downstream catchment.
The Pennywort was largely removed from the pond using a long-reach digger, paid for by the Environment Agency’s Operations Delivery team and was cleared to the top of the bank, where it was to be dried on higher ground and composted.
Farnham Anglers have agreed to undertake ongoing monitoring of the site, at Mill Lane Yateley in case any more Pennywort appears in the coming months and the Environment Agency pass on their thanks to Society Fishery Officer, Mike Barrass and his team for their help.
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