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Demon detected in River Bewl

Southern Water targets invasive species with extra training for staff 

New invader in the region as the Demon Shrimp is found during eco-survey 

Invasive non-native species (INNS) can wreak ecological carnage on sensitive habitats and Southern Water staff are on the front line in spotting and controlling these foreign invaders.

Species including plants such floating pennywort and Japanese knotweed and animals including zebra mussels and signal crayfish can destroy habitats and devour local biodiversity.

With Invasive Species Week running from 13 to 17 May, the Southern Water's in-house Environment team has been training the company's 20 technical coordinators to recognise key species so they can be controlled more effectively throughout our sites. The coordinators audit our treatment plants, pumping stations and other assets and will have a key role in identifying and reporting INNS. The training sessions are also being opened up to some of Southern Water's key engineering contractor partners. Engineering teams who work on bursts, leaks and work sites right across our region can play a key role in limiting the spread of invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed,

Our Environmental Team have long been in the fore front of the battle against non-native species. "Invasive species can do tremendous damage - floating pennywort for example grows rapidly and can totally choke ponds and waterways harming our natural environment by outcompeting native plants and disrupting ecosystems.  Invasive species can also potentially damage our treatment works by clogging up filters and pipelines," said Tom Alexander, graduate ecologist, "I have made INNS a bit of a personal mission."

Tom is part of the team of our Environmental Manager Dr Nicola Meakins who says awareness raising is a key part of the battle.

"During ecological survey work on the River Bewl, our teams found a new INNS to our region - the Demon Shrimp. Like their cousin the Killer Shrimp, these prey on a wide range of native animals, fish eggs and even young fish," she said, "First spotted in the UK in 2012, the demons don't seem to be spreading as fast as the killers but their freshly identified presence underscores the need for river users such as kayakers and anglers to check their equipment, clean it and properly dry it after each outing."


Notes to Editors:

Learn about INNS and Invasive Species Week here:

More information about the Killer and Demon shrimps here: