Five Year Project Drives Success for Native White Crayfish Conservation

A five-year project has made considerable progress in the conservation of our native white-clawed crayfish. The project was delivered by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) through the Southern Chalkstreams Project, a partnership project funded by the Vitacress Conservation Trust.

Native white-clawed crayfish are under increasing threat from the introduced North American signal crayfish, and the disease ‘crayfish plague’ it carries.

The four key objectives of the project were to:

  • Raise awareness of the threats to white-clawed crayfish
  • Increase our knowledge of the ecology and distribution of crayfish species in Hampshire
  • Facilitate and, where appropriate, lead on the delivery of targeted habitats works for white-clawed crayfish
  • Develop and deliver strategic conservation plans for white-clawed crayfish and partners

Researchers, led by Dr Ben Rushbrook MCIEEM, a Senior Ecologist at HIWWT, undertook a number of steps including:

  • Annual monitoring, conducted by HIWWT to protect and enhance existing populations of white-clawed crayfish, the most productive associated with the Candover Stream
  • Setting up ‘Ark’ sites where the species can be protected from signal crayfish. An ark site for white-clawed crayfish is an isolated, self-contained site with running water, still water, or both, which can support a healthy, self-sustaining population of white-clawed crayfish with little need for ongoing management. Hampshire’s first ‘Ark’ site was set up in autumn 2016 at Sparsholt College.
  • A captive-rearing and breeding programme, led by Bristol Zoological Society, so more crayfish can be released to bolster populations / colonise ark site
  • Providing consultation and advice to partners and external organisations

Image credit: Peter Brett Associates

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close