Volunteers are helping fight the Chinese mitten crab – an invasive species causing extensive damage by burrowing into Thames river banks.

They are working to help stabilise the banks on Chiswick Eyot where 15-feet mud banks have been weakened by the mitten crabs as well as by tides and wave action.

The crabs, which are thought to have arrived in this country from the Far East in the ballast of commercial shipping , are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of the world's worst 100 invasive alien species.

Thames 21 Volunteers working in partnership with the Old Chiswick Protection Society are involved in stabilising the island’s banks with a barrier of willow woven around stakes driven into the river bed.

Material used for the activities is naturally available on the island. The next stage involves laying bundles of willow and hazel onto the stakes to allow silt to be deposited to create a base for reeds and to boost native vegetation and biodiversity.

Thames21 West London Coordinator Judith Ressler who led the activities last weekend said: “I am really pleased with the results we achieved.  The volunteers really enjoyed the activity and learned a lot about river restoration.”

The charity’s project in West London, Waterways and Wellbeing, is a three year Big Lottery funded project to involve local residents in activities to improve their rivers. It has a particular emphasis on working with people marginalised through disability or background who might not normally consider volunteering.

Chinese mitten crabs are found along the Thames and many of the country’s rivers causing the erosion and preying on native species. More information on the species HERE

More information on volunteering for Thames21 HERE

Story dated March 8th 2013

Contact us Terms & Conditions About Us