Saving Eden's White-clawed crayfish

The River Eden and its tributaries are one of the last remaining strongholds for the white-clawed crayfish.  The Rivers Leith, Lyvennet, Lowther and Eamont near Penrith, the Hoff and Helm Becks near Appleby, the Croglin and Hayber Becks in the Pennines and Scandel Beck near Kirkby Stephen have been identified as having strong populations of native white-clawed crayfish. Unfortunately the native crayfish is under considerable pressure throughout the UK and the Eden from the alien, invasive American signal crayfish and the crayfish plague that it carries. If no action is taken the white-clawed crayfish populations in the Eden catchment could become extinct in the next few years.

Project aims:

  • To raise awareness of the importance of the conservation of the Eden's white-clawed crayfish among the general public and river users
  • To carry out practical habitat work to improve rivers for crayfish and other wildlife
  • To survey current populations of white-clawed and non-native signal crayfish
  • To engage with and train volunteers in crayfish conservation
  • To help prevent the spread of alien crayfish and crayfish plague

Project Outcomes:

More than 20km of riverside fencing will be installed over 3 years. Over 3000 riverside trees will also be planted. Farm assessments will be completed at 17 farms and advice on reducing agricultural pollution will be provided, benefiting both the river and the farm business.  Works to improve farm infrastructure to reduce pollution will be carried out at 16 farms.