A threatened species of crayfish is making a comeback in Lincolnshire thanks to efforts by the Environment Agency and local conservation groups.
Last July, 600 white-clawed crayfish were moved from locations in the River Witham – where they’re at risk of being wiped out by invasive signal crayfish – to new remote locations including a chalk stream in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Now, surveys show the transfer – the first in the county – has been successful, and the crayfish have started to breed.
Native white-clawed crayfish have been in decline since non-native American signal crayfish escaped into UK waters in the 1970s. These larger, invasive crayfish outcompete native species for food and habitat and carry a disease fatal to the UK species.
But working with partners such as the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project (LCSP) and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency is seeking to secure their future by relocating them to areas free of the invaders in a scheme known as the ‘ark project.’