Launch of Aliens on the Lough – an Introduction to Invasive Alien Species
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council were pleased to host the first “Aliens on the Lough” training event at Castle Archdale Country Park as part of the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) programme designed to promote awareness of invasive alien species locally. An invasive alien species or IAS is categorised as any non-native animal or plant which can spread and cause damage to local biodiversity, the economy and health.
This training event saw the launch of the “Aliens on the Lough” project, which is supported by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The programme will facilitate the delivery of a suite of 23 projects with the aim to promote, protect and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Lough Erne region.
LELP Programme Manager Elmarie Swanepoel stated:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on this project. We recognise the importance of protecting the natural biodiversity of the region and ensuring that we work with our partners to enhance the unique landscape that the Lough Erne region has to offer. This project is vital in raising awareness of the issue of non native invasive species and the impact that they are having on the local landscape. “
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are dedicated to tackling the issue of IAS as part of the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Biodiversity Action Plan and Community Plan 2020. To successfully meet its aims and objectives, it is important to have the support and involvement of local people and organisations, so organisers were pleased with the turnout at Friday’s event.
The session opened with a short presentation which highlighted several IAS, of which there are over 2,000 throughout the UK. The main species which the project will focus on locally are Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and Rhododendron.
The presentation highlighted some methods that are used to eliminate certain species, illustrating how some can even take years to manage. With the aid of volunteers, the project will help to manage affected areas in the Lough Erne area. This session closed with a site visit in Castle Archdale to see many of the IAS covered including rhododendron, laurel, American raspberry.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the identification and management of IAS should keep an eye out for future training sessions on our website or contact the Julie Corry to register your interest in attending one. Courses can be tailored to suit the needs of a community group within the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership area.
If you see what you believe to be any of the aforementioned invasive alien species please do cut or disturb it, but do report it on https://www2.habitas.org.uk/records/ISI.