Stop The Spread
Ponds can be a great addition to any garden and create a wonderful feature to be enjoyed all year round. However, if they aren’t cared for properly some common pond plants can take over your ponds. They can also become established in the wild and cause severe damage to the environment. The Be Plant Wise campaign is designed to educate retailers and customers about the problems caused by invasive aquatic plants, and to encourage customers to seek advice on the most suitable plants for their pond and to promote better pond management.
- Be Plant Wise by not moving pond plants around. Even tiny plant fragments can lead to problems, so be careful when maintaining your pond and disposing of waste water.
- Any waste water should be emptied away from streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and loughs, or drains that flow into them. Even disposing of waste pond water over the garden fence could mean that fragments of invasive plant end up in the drainage system and ultimately in the rivers and streams. Also make sure to clean all equipment after use and to follow the same guidelines for disposal of cleaning water as for waste water.
If retailers and customers choose plants that are better suited to their garden pond and take care to dispose of all aquatic plants responsibly it will help us prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants.
|Why is the issue important?
Whether you are interested in the environment or not, the problems caused by invasive species affect us all. For a start, they cost us billions of pounds/euro – for example it has been estimated that they may cost as much as £2 billion every single year in Britain alone while estimates for Europe as a whole suggest invasive species cost at least €12 billion per annum.
But invasive species are not only an economic problem, they are also a well known threat to our environment. From challenging the survival of our rarest species to damaging some of our most sensitive ecosystems, the biodiversity impacts of invasive species are severe and growing. Their impact is now so significant that they are considered to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide.
It’s not just our wildlife that suffers, invasive species can also have an impact on the way we live. For example, if invasive aquatic plants become established in the wild they can clog our waterways, exacerbate flooding, disrupt the navigation of boats, interfere with recreational activities (such as fishing), and remove oxygen from the water, which can harm fish.
It’s also important to remember that the effect of an invasive species is not a one off event. Once a species has been introduced the persist and escalate as the species spreads further. If we don’t act, the problem of invasive species will continue to escalate at an ever increasing rate, causing us to feel more of the impacts and incur more cost every year.
Find out more
You can watch the EcoEye feature on invasive species on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website. This feature highlights some of the issues which can be avoided by being Plant Wise:
|A selection of aquatic plant species which can cause problems in the wild include:
More information on six of these species is provided on the ‘Know what you grow‘ page.