Launch of ‘Aliens on the Lough’ – an Introduction to Invasive Alien Species

8th April 2019

A new project to promote awareness of invasive alien species within the Fermanagh and Omagh District has been launched.

The ‘Aliens on the Lough’ project, which is supported by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, was launched at a training event held at Castle Archdale County Park, Co. Fermanagh and hosted by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, on invasive alien species within the district.

An invasive alien species is any non-native animal or plant which can spread and cause damage to local biodiversity, the economy and health.

The ‘Aliens on the Lough’ project is one of 23 projects that will be facilitated by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership programme to promote, protect and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Lough Erne region.

The invasive alien species project will focus on Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Giant hogweed and rhododendron amongst others in the Lough Erne area.

Speaking about the ‘Aliens on the Lough’ training event, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton, said:

“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to tackling the issue of invasive alien species as part of the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan.

It is important that we have the support and involvement of our residents and local organisations to address the issue and we were pleased with the turnout at the training event on invasive alien species at Castle Archdale Country Park and look forward to welcoming more people to the project.”

Speaking about the launch of the ‘Aliens on the Lough’ project, Lough Erne Landscape Partnership Programme Manager, Elmarie Swanepoel, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on this project. We recognise the importance of protecting the natural biodiversity of the region and ensuring that we work with our partners to enhance the unique landscape that the Lough Erne region has to offer. This project is vital in raising awareness of the issue of non-native invasive species and the impact that they are having on the local landscape.”

The training event included a presentation on several types of invasive alien species, of which there are over 2,000 throughout the UK. It highlighted methods that can be used to eliminate certain species and how some species can take up to a number of years to effectively manage.

The event also included a site visit within the grounds of Castle Archdale where those in attendance where able to view a number of invasive alien species including rhododendron, laurel, and American raspberry.

Further training sessions on invasive alien species will be rolled out in the future and can be tailored to suit the needs of community groups located within the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership area.

For further information or to get involved please visit Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s website www.fermanaghomagh.com or contact the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Julie Corry, on 0300 303 1777, textphone 028 8225 6216 or email julie.corry@fermanaghomagh.com.

If you see what you believe to be an invasive alien species please do not cut it or disturb it, but report it on www2.habitas.org.uk/records/ISI. The Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Julie Corry can also provide advice on invasive alien species.