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Endangered crayfish released into tributary of river Irfon in Powys

 

It is hoped the one-year-old white-claw crayfish will breed in the river Irfon

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A total of 500 native crayfish have been released into a river tributary in Powys as part of continued efforts to save the species from extinction.

It is hoped the one-year-old white-claw crayfish will breed after being released into a tributary of the River Irfon near Builth Wells.

The area has been chosen as it is free from a non-native crayfish and a fungus-like disease which kills the crustaceans.

They were bred at a hatchery in Brecon.

Oliver Brown, from Environment Agency Wales, said: “This project is an essential part of the agency’s crayfish conservation strategy which involves protecting existing populations and establishing new safe havens for the species.”

The crayfish were released in conjunction with the Wye and Usk Foundation (WUF), as part of a project which began in 2009 when the first egg-carrying females were caught and transported to the agency’s hatchery from selected wild populations.

‘Under threat’

The white-claw is Britain’s only native crayfish.

It is under threat from disease, climate change, habitat degradation and competition from the more aggressive American crayfish which were introduced for food in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The juvenile crayfish were bred at a hatchery near Brecon

Experts believe that without intervention, there is real risk of the species becoming extinct from mainland Britain within the next three decades.

Simon Evans, of WUF, said: “This work provides a beacon of hope for our native crayfish and is part of our efforts to improve the Irfon catchment as a whole.

“We are also recovering the river’s habitat and water quality that the introduced crayfish need to thrive.”

 

The Campaign Team and Environment Agency Wales  working together to improve habitat

These photo’s show the Campaign  team working with the Environment Agency to clear undergrowth and low branches to allow light to get down to the water of the Dwr Ial. Much of this spawning tributary appeared almost inert and void of aquatic life due to a very heavy overhead canopy. The Clwyd and Conwy Rivers Trust have fenced and cleared over 1km of this important tributary and the Campaign will work with the Environment Agency to maintain the required annual maintenance. If you would like to help email highplains@fsmail.net you will be made most welcome.

 

Improvement works at Pont Dyfedd

The following photo’s are of the works recently carried out by the Environment Agency at Pont Dyfedd on the lower River Clwyd, which it is hoped will assist the passage of fish upstream.

Prior to work starting:

 

Work starts

 

 

As work progresses:

The beginning of the end:

This is to get us started.

This new fish pass on the River Clwyedog has just been opened and should make a big difference to the free movement of salmon and sea trout up the system.The new pass has been added following the removal of the remains of an old mill race that had fallen over and created a barrier to the free movement of fish. The removal of this barrier has provided the added benefit of destroying a well known poaching hot spot, as the fish that were held by the old construction lay exposed in the pool below the fallen brickwork and were an easy target for the poachers.

The construction of the pass included the importation of thousands of tonnes of limestone which, it is hoped, will have the added benefit of improving the water quality of the Clwyedog as well as the River Clwyd, of which it is a major tributary

The Campaign is pleased to offer its thanks to the Environment Agency Team members who worked so hard to see this pass constructed.