The National Biodiversity Network Atlas Wales, a free online tool that facilitates learning about and understanding Welsh wildlife, has released a new Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Portal.

The Portal supplements the GB Non-native Species Information Portal and its Alerts Mechanism by providing a unique facility to view and search for INNS specifically of interest to Wales.

The INNS Portal includes over 300 terrestrial, freshwater and marine species of interest to Wales and allows species occurrences and distribution to be searched for and downloaded individually or collectively by list.

Species include those listed under EU and national legislation and those of policy and practical interest, including those identified as Wales Priority Invasive Non-Native Species for Action by the Wales Biodiversity Partnership INNS Group.

The partnership brings together key players from the public, private and voluntary sectors to promote and monitor biodiversity and ecosystem action in Wales. It provides a leadership role and an expert steer on priorities for action on biodiversity and ecosystems in Wales.

What’s the risk?

Invasive non-native species can block up waterways, make navigation difficult, and cause irreparable damage to the environment – and water users may unknowingly be spreading them from one water body to another. Animals, eggs, larvae and tiny plant fragments can easily be carried on boards, equipment, shoes and clothing, and some can survive out of water in damp conditions for over two weeks.

Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, explains: “Everyone has a role to play in improving biodiversity and ecosystems. We need to make the natural environment which we all depend on an integral part of our everyday lives. It’s important that boaters demonstrate that they’re doing all they can to reduce the spread of invasive species in order to help protect our environment.

“Unwanted non-native plants and animals are invading our waterways and pose a serious threat to our lakes, rivers, streams and coastline. Once in a waterway these invasive species can disperse rapidly, adversely affecting recreational facilities, reducing fish populations and restricting navigation.

“Some freshwater pests are microscopic and can be spread by a single drop of water. Even if you can’t see the danger, you could be spreading it. To stop the spread of invasive species you must Check, Clean, Dry your clothing and equipment when you are moving from one waterway to another, anywhere in the UK.”

Help getting started

Wales has commitments under the GB Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy to take action to prevent, detect, eradicate and manage INNS. The INNS Portal will support these commitments by giving better access to INNS data. As well as being of help in Wales, the unique access to species via lists will be of benefit at GB, UK and European level.

For help in getting started, see the INNS Portal User Guide. Records can be easily submitted through the free iRecord App and the newly launched LERC Wales App.

For specific advice on aquatic invasive species, visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk. Boaters can also head to www.rya.org.uk/go/alienspecies to find out more about how to ‘Stop the Spread.’