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INVASIVE SPECIES INITIATIVES Aoife Thornton Ph.D. Zebra Mussel Education Officer Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative & Aquatic.

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Presentation on theme: "INVASIVE SPECIES INITIATIVES Aoife Thornton Ph.D. Zebra Mussel Education Officer Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative & Aquatic."— Presentation transcript:

1 INVASIVE SPECIES INITIATIVES Aoife Thornton Ph.D. Zebra Mussel Education Officer Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative & Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force Environment Section, Galway County Council.

2 2. Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Task Force WATER – OUR HERITAGE Aim: To protect inland waterways from unwanted aquatic invasive species 1. Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative 2 Groups

3 Case Study 1 Campaign with a long name and a specific aim

4 ZEBRA MUSSELS Credit: Dan Minchin AIM: To stop the spread of Zebra Mussels to lakes within the Western River Basin District (Great Western Lakes in particular)

5 Loughs Corrib, Mask & Carra Message also incorporates stopping the spread of aquatic invasive plant species Lough Conn 2006 Protecting the Great Western Lakes

6 Zebra Mussels - INVASIVE What are they? Non-native freshwater shellfish Thumbnail-sized What are the concerns? Cause changes to inland waterway ecology Cause algal blooms by consuming harmless plankton and rejecting harmful types – produce microcystins (toxic compounds) Block water abstraction pipes & can taint public water supply Hosts to other invasive species How can they be exterminated? Cannot be eradicated from natural ecosystems Algal Blooms Native Swan Mussel starved to death Credit: Dan Minchin

7 Zebra Mussels in Ireland since mid-1990s Lough Corrib under threat BACKGROUND Galway County Heritage Forum Action 3.8 to protect Lough Corrib…from Zebra Mussels VEHICLE for Action 2004: Awareness – signage and literature 2005 Education Officer Expansion New signs Branding Media Schools Seminar Presentations Talks

8 Members Galway County Heritage Forum The Heritage Council Galway County and City Councils Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Clare and North Tipperary County Councils NPWS, OPW, NWRFB, WRFB, SHRFB and NRFB (information exchange) Inland Waterways of Ireland Waterways Ireland Carra Mask Corrib Water Protection Group Ltd. Trout Angling Federation of Ireland (TAFI) Scientists

9 ZEBRA MUSSEL AWARENESS The Basics Key message and target audience were identified Positive Messages You can help! Yes invasives cause problems but yes a lot can be done to help or prevent the spread 2. Clean your boat 3. Remove plants Target Audience Anglers and boat owners

10 Finance – the weakest link! Image: Dan Minchin Zebra Mussels coating a chain

11 Identification of a Funding Mechanism Without money, theres a ceiling in the way of progress Seed funding was provided by the Heritage Council Additional funding is provided by Local Authorities, Regional Fisheries Boards and the National Parks and Wildlife Service Funding agencies are regularly updated on progress and news. Money doesnt grow on trees!

12 Selling the Message Original look Message Its in your hands X Problem: image was caring New Look New Look Character – many uses Nasty hitchhiker Bilingual logo BRAND IMAGE To create an identity To grab attention To help sell the message about AIS

13 Sign Design Sign Design Erected around Great Western Lakes Created awareness at waterways & generated talk about Zebra Mussels Gave a face to Zebra Mussels Main message was Zebra Mussels will damage this lake Little focus on specific actions Message: Leave your boat behind and rent one locally and Leave your boat out for 1 month etc. 123 warning signs Erected around western waterways and along western bank of River Shannon 30,000 provided by the Heritage Council Bilingual sign Emphasis on action –arrows point to specific areas requiring attention New message: Remove plant life Stickers affixed to signs where Zebra Mussels exist Fisheries Board contact details

14 Biodiversity Puppet Show Puppets are used in an interactive way to explain difficult environmental concepts to school pupils Primary Schools 2 nd -6 th Class Worksheets Topics addressed: 1.Invasive Species 2.Habitats 3.Ecosystems Partners Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative, Planning Section, Galway County Council (Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer People and Nature Biodiversity Project (Elaine ORiordan)

15 Creating Awareness Vs. Effecting Behavioural Change Awareness has been raised amongst anglers and boat-owners through many means (signage, literature, media, Fisheries Boards and clubs) 100% of anglers surveyed in the West were aware of Zebra Mussels (Sorcha OBrien, 2005) Effecting behavioural change is the real challenge

16 Behavioural Change The US Approach Use social marketing Make use of emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility Stage agencies engage the private sector and mix their services in a cross-sector manner Stick approach exists but they tend to concentrate on the carrot approach because most people want to do the right thing. Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers and Habitattitude

17 Case Study 2 Tackling the African Weed Weed Cutting boat and Lagarosiphon major on Lough Corrib

18 African Curly Leaved Waterweed Lagarosiphon major in Lough Corrib Discovered in 2005 Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Task Force Partners include: Galway County Council, OPW, NPWS, CFB &WRFB Rinneroon Bay, Lough Corrib, near Oughterard, Co. Galway More than 26 acres PROBLEMS Impedes the movement of boats Out-competes native species

19 Lagarosiphon major (Lough Corrib, January 2007)

20 No Nasties Pond Project Aimed at gardeners, garden centre owners, aquarists and landscape owners Message: Please do not purchase these plants or dump them into or in the vicinity of watercourses.

21 Plant non-invasive species in your garden water feature instead!

22 Look for Signs!

23 Aquatic Invasive Species Calendar 2007 Awareness is the Key! Produced by the Central Fisheries Board (partner organisation of the AIS Task Force) Over 10,000 copies distributed in Ireland

24 Map & List of Zebra Mussel infested sites in Ireland Zebra Mussels and Other Alien Invaders newsletter Links to other sites Clean your boat advice to anglers and boat owners Brochures and other downloads

25 Summary Case Study 1. Loughs Corrib, Mask, Carra and Melvin are still Zebra Mussel free. 100% of anglers in the West are Zebra Mussel-aware (S. OBrien, 2005) Trust has been won from the majority of boat-owners and angling organisations Initiative has helped to focus attention on AIS nationally Initiative is identified internationally as a leading contact base in Ireland PREPARING FOR FUTURE INVASIONS!!!!!!!!

26 Summary Case Study 2 Research trials on Lagarosiphon major were conducted New leaflets on Lagarosiphon major and on aquatic invasive plant species plus alternatives 2007 Calendar Media publicity generated (Six-One news and national and local newspapers) New link with Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative Problem = No Funding to allow continuation

27 Summary Contd. Key Elements of the Campaigns… Bottom-up approach – grass root involvement All stakeholders are fully engaged The LA network is utilised Limited resources but stretched effectively Voluntary members Elements of campaign have been evaluated by international experts

28 THE WAY FORWARD… Continuation of intensive awareness campaigns Investigate other options i.e. stick approach????

29 Whats on the Way? Its important to be prepared!

30 Acknowledgements Members of the Western Region Zebra Mussel Control Initiative & The AIS Task Force The staff of Galway County Council

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