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Bodington Fields hosts rescued crayfish

Living Lab

Endangered white clawed crayfish have found a safe haven in the pond at Bodington Fields natural flood management site, following the threat of crayfish plague in Meanwood Beck.

Rare white clawed crayfish are the UK's only native, freshwater crayfish, and play an important role in our waterways. Historically they were common in Yorkshire, but populations have drastically declined since the industrial age. They are particularly at risk from the expanding population of more aggresive signal crayfish, which spread the crayfish plague disease and compete for food.

After crayfish plague was detected in Meanwood Beck and other areas of the River Aire catchment, the Environment Agency worked to rescue and protect the native white clawed crayfish population.

Colleagues at the University worked with the Environment Agency to provide safe haven in the pond at the Bodington Fields natural flood management site.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development at the University of Leeds, said: “Bodington Pond was originally constructed to reduce flood risk in the River Aire catchment, but it also enhances biodiversity and provides opportunities for students, academics and partners to collaborate on research projects.

“We’re delighted to work in partnership with the Environment Agency and colleagues across the University to welcome our brand-new residents.”

Check, Clean and Dry

We all have a role to play in protecting our native species, and the Environment Agency and University are calling for people to play their part by making sure they “Check, Clean and Dry” to prevent the spread of invasive species and disease in our waterways.

Alison Dunn, Professor of Ecology in the School of Biology at the University of Leeds, who has been involved throughout the project, said: “Invasive species and diseases are a growing challenge for native wildlife so it’s really important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risk.

“The good news is there are things you can do to help stop the spread if you’re near any rivers or lakes for recreation or work. Simple steps, such as checking, cleaning and drying your equipment and boots, make a big difference to native species like the white-clawed crayfish.”

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