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The DCRT has agreed to support local group Sheffield Action Crayfish’s work to save the remaining white-clawed crayfish in the Don Catchment. White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) are the only native species of crayfish in the Britsh Isles, which was formerly a stronghold of the species. Unfortunately the species is being wiped out across its range and has been classed as endangered. This is due to the invasive North American signal crayfish, which is spreading rapidly across the UK and the rest of Europe, and carries crayfish plague, a disease lethal to white-claws.

Photo credit: Richard Tabor

Sheffield Action Crayfish have identified ‘ark’ sites (particularly isolated crayfish habitat) in the Don Catchment that will allow white-claws to persist without coming into contact with signal crayfish. Without the ark sites white-clawed crayfish will almost certainly become extinct in the catchment. A small financial contribution from the Trust will contribute towards the Sheffield Crayfish Monitoring Project which will check that the arc sites are successful, and will follow changes in crayfish distribution in Sheffield. Sheffield Action Crayfish rely on volunteers to do crayfish survey work, so if you are interested in helping out (survey training starts in May), or if you would like to find out more about the project please contact Brian Armstrong brian.armstrong@sheffield.gov.uk

If you are interested in the status of crayfish in the Don Catchment you also might be interested to read the work of Masters student Chris Arthur here

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