Crayfish ARK sites in Oxfordshire

White clawed (native) crayfish

Native crayfish are seriously endangered in Oxfordshire. The expansion of signal crayfish populations poses the single greatest threat to our native crayfish because they carry a fatal fungal disease, often called “crayfish plague”.

TVERC has been carrying out surveys here since 2004, scouring the top of small limestone and chalk streams for this elusive creature. During this time, the loss of the native crayfish from streams has been a depressing but regular occurrence.

Therefore the Environment Agency funded TVERC to use Geographical Information Software (GIS) to identify potential ARK sites for the white-clawed (native) crayfish in Oxfordshire (places that the crayfish could be moved to if they ever become "doomed" in the wild).

More than 1300 enclosed waterbodies greater than 500 square metres in area were identified and analysed for their isolation from the river network, vulnerability to flooding and geological suitability. 60 potentially suitable water bodies were identified for further investigation.