LIFE RIPARIAS is an EU-funded LIFE project that brings together Belgian authorities and citizens to manage Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in river areas and ponds across borders. INVASIVESNET is a supporting project partner, being a key actor for international outreach of LIFE RIPARIAS.
Sonia Vanderhoeven, Science Officer at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, explains the rationale for the project: “In most cases, decisions about where, why and which IAS to manage are mainly ad hoc due to the diversity of actors involved and the fragmented nature of available data sources and information. While the number of IAS and associated costs are likely to increase in the future, appropriate and coordinated choices must now be made to determine which species and sites should be considered as a priority for action. These decisions must be supported by the best available evidence to enhance the efficiency of actions taken and lead to the successful control of these problematic species.”
The project LIFE RIPARIAS is taking action to optimize the management of IAS by developing a scientific evidence-based workflow that will set up priorities for action. This will guide decision-makers and managers in the IAS management decision-making process and inform them about best management methods while maximizing the cost efficiency of management actions. The workflow bases its foundations on cooperation amongst management practitioners, decision-makers, and the general public.
LIFE RIPARIAS will focus on the following aims:
· Enhancing surveillance of IAS in order to achieve rapid eradication of some emerging species and the cost-effective containment of widespread ones.
· Developing clear guidelines for prioritising management actions.
· Acting against specific invasive aquatic and riparian plants and crayfish species in the pilot area.
· Evaluating the efficiency of the actions taken.
· Promoting the approach throughout Europe (partnering with INVASIVESNET).