‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign to protect Irish Waterways launched by Leave No Trace Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre and Partners


Wednesday 19th January: A new initiative to raise awareness about the spread of harmful invasive plant species and the impact of litter on Irish waterways has been launched by Leave No Trace Ireland in partnership with Waterways Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Sport Ireland, Canoeing Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Marine Institute, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign’ aims to raise awareness about biosecurity and the impacts of litter and is calling on the public to play their part in protecting Ireland’s waterways.

Launching the campaign, Padraic Creedon, Ecologist with Leave No Trace Ireland said biosecurity is all about reducing the risk of introducing or spreading invasive species and harmful disease in rural and urban environments.

Ireland is facing an increased threat of invasive alien species in and on its waterways. These are non-native species that have been introduced by human intervention, outside their natural range that can threaten our native wildlife, cause damage to our environment, economy and human health.  Water Soldier, (Stratiotes aloides), chub and pink salmon are just some of the species threatening Ireland’s waterways.”

John McDonagh, Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland added: “Waterways Ireland is delighted to partner on this important campaign with Leave No Trace Ireland. Our inland waterways are rich ecological and heritage corridors, enjoyed by a variety of recreational users.  The introduction or spread of invasive species, both terrestrial and aquatic, is of key concern as it negatively impacts our native biodiversity and can seriously disrupt people’s enjoyment of the waterways.  We would strongly urge our users to adopt the Check, Clean, Dry approach so we can all work together to preserve this valuable resource for current and future generations.”

Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, also expressed his support for the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign’. The Minister noted that tackling invasive alien species is vital to our efforts to halt biodiversity loss and that the Programme for Government provides for development of a new National Invasive Species Management Plan.

“Invasive species are a serious threat to our biodiversity, and I fully support the efforts of Leave No Trace and their partners in this new campaign to raise awareness about Check Clean Dry protocols. I’m delighted to see my Department’s strong engagement in this initiative through Waterways Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and hope that it will help to improve vital biosecurity measures all over this island’s waterways. Through the British Irish Council, the NPWS also engages with counterparts in Great Britain to encourage water users on both sides of the Irish Sea to apply these simple but effective measures.”

The new campaign is asking anyone who goes out on the water to help in reducing the risk of spreading invasive species and disease by following the Check, Clean, Dry principles.

  • CHECK boats, equipment, clothing and footwear for any plant or animal material, including seeds, spores and soil. Pay particular attention to areas that are damp or hard to inspect.
  • CLEAN and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any plants and animals, leave them at the water body where you found them.
  • DRY all equipment and clothing for at least 48 hours – some species can live for many days or weeks in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere. (NOTE : If complete drying is not possible then disinfect everything).

Information and updates on the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ Campaign will be available on the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s new invasive species website www.invasives.ie, through Leave No Trace Ireland’s website and its partners’ social media channels.

Media Contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535

Note To Editors:

Invasive alien species

Invasive alien species are species that have been introduced (deliberately or accidentally) by humans and have a negative impact on the economy, wildlife or habitats of the island of Ireland. Our activities are the main cause of the arrival of invasive species. Many species are deliberately released, like species of fish for angling. Others have escaped from our gardens and farms like the American mink and giant rhubarb. Some arrive as hitch hikers and stowaways with imported goods or other species such as the New Zealand flatworm.

The number of high impact invasive alien species introduced into Ireland has increased by 183% from 1961 to 2010. Research carried out in 2013 indicated that the combined estimated annual cost of invasive species on the economies of both Ireland and Northern Ireland is £207,553,528 (€261,517,445), with an estimate of a combined UK and Ireland cost of £2 billion (€2.5 billion).

Since the 17th century invasive species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known. Invasive alien species can transform the structure and species composition of ecosystems by repressing or excluding native species. Because invasive species are often one of a whole suite of factors affecting particular sites or ecosystems, it is not always easy to determine the proportion of the impact that can be attributed to them.


Leave No Trace Ireland is Ireland’s only outdoor ethics programme, which promotes the responsible use of the outdoors. Through education, research and partnerships, Leave No Trace Ireland enables and supports individuals, communities, organisations and companies in reducing the environmental impact of outdoor activities.

Waterways Ireland is one of the six all-Ireland North/South implementation bodies established under the Belfast Agreement in 1999. It is responsible for the management, maintenance, development, and restoration of inland navigable waterways primarily for recreational purposes

National Biodiversity Data Centre works to make biodiversity data and information more freely available to better understand and assist the protection of Ireland’s biodiversity.

Sport Ireland is the authority tasked with the development of sport in Ireland. This includes participation in sport, high-performance sport, anti-doping, coaching, and the development of the Sport Ireland Campus

Canoeing Ireland was formed in 1960 and is registered as a limited company in order to provide liability protection for its members. It is recognised by the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) as the governing body of the sport and recreation of canoeing in Ireland. It is affiliated with the International and European Canoe Federations.

Inland Fisheries Ireland protects, manages and conserves Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

Marine Institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland.

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation who make it easier for people to responsibly enjoy the outdoors.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is responsible for implementing legislation and policy on invasive alien species in Ireland.

Sport Northern Ireland is the leading public body for the development of sport in Northern Ireland. Their mission is to lead sports development at all levels.

Click Here to view our Campaign Video