Invasive Species Week was started in 2015 by Northern Ireland’s Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) in association with the United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to encourage members of the public to get involved and active, and to help stop the spread of such species. Ireland’s support for Invasive Species Week 2018 is part of our engagement, as a member administration of the British Irish Council, on initiatives and issues of shared concern across these islands.
Invasive Species 2018 week was launched by Environment Ministers at their British Irish Council (BIC) Ministerial meeting on the 23 March.
The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of invasive non-native species (commonly known as invasive alien species in Ireland and other countries) which are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss and can also cause significant damage to human health and the economy. The cost to the European economy is estimated to be at least €12 billion per year.
In Ireland, this year’s week will see events taking place to specifically raise awareness around the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ initiative for those taking part in water-based activities, and ‘Be Plant Wise’, for those with an interest in gardening and plants.
Speaking ahead of the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ event during the week, Minister Madigan highlighted its importance:
“As we head into the Easter break, people all over the country will be taking the opportunity to travel and make use of the many of our wonderful water based amenities. One of the purposes of Invasive Species Week, and ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ in particular, is to make sure that we can leave these amenities for future generations to also enjoy. By stopping the spread of invasive species, we can ensure that, for example, riverbanks are not damaged, and native crayfish do not suffer from an imported plague.”
Further information is available at the Invasive Species Ireland website.
As well as working with other agencies to raise awareness, NPWS will be highlighting steps you can take to stop the spread throughout the week, both here and on the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's twitter account - @deptahg.
Some other sources of information to keep an eye on include the National Biodiversity Data Centre's website, and the Twitter hashtags #CheckCleanDryIrl and #InvasiveWeek !