Second batch of native crayfish find new home in Lincolnshire Wolds

A total of 200 native crayfish have been moved to a secret new home in a bid to protect them from the threat of invasive species.

The white-clawed crayfish is the only species of freshwater crayfish native to the UK but population numbers have been impacted by non-native species, in particular the American signal crayfish. This large invasive species not only out competes our native crayfish for food and habitat but also carries a fatal disease known as crayfish plague.

In Lincolnshire, the native population is now restricted to a stretch of the River Witham and its adjoining tributaries.

A joint project between the Environment Agency, Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Rivers Trust and the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project saw 200 of the native crustaceans moved from the River Witham to a private spring-fed lake in the Lincolnshire Wolds which is free from the invasive crayfish, giving the population the best chance of survival.

A similar exercise was undertaken in 2017 when several hundred were moved to the site and follow-up surveys in 2018 showed that the native crayfish were breeding in their new location.

The joint project between the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, the GLNP, Lincolnshire Rivers Trust, Natural England and the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project took place on Friday 6 September and was featured on BBC Look North.