Natural heritage secures £1.5m lottery grant to combat non-native species
Mink have devastated water vole populations.
well as ecosystem services such as drinking water, electricity generation and flood protection.
“This project will support us in working with local communities and organisations to help care for this precious resource.”
Networks of rivers, burns, lochs and pools support much of northern Scotland’s biodiversity, experts say. This
includes globally-endangered species, such as the freshwater pearl mussel, whose lifecycle is dependent on salmon and trout.
These places also support other species of conservation importance, such as otter and water vole.
However, invasive non-native species in freshwater habitats are having a “significant impact” on biodiversity, according conservationists.
Predation from American mink is said to be a principal factor in the crash of the water vole population in Scotland, while other plant and animal invasive non-native species often out-compete native flora and fauna.
The team working on the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative will work with local communities to manage the invasive threats.
It will see SNH working with 10 fisheries trusts or district salmon fisheries boards, plus Aberdeen University.
Organisers are also aiming to establish a volunteer network that will help to look after local freshwater biodiversity once the project has been completed.
Drew Bennellick, HLF head of landscape and natural heritage, said: “This project is all about empowering local communities to help save Scotland’s treasured native habitats and species.”