Nicky has been involved in the monitoring of Devon's remaining white-clawed crayfish populations with the local Environment Agency since 2003. Unfortunately both populations are threatened by invading signal crayfish and translocations to suitable 'Ark Sites' were carried out in 2012 and 2013. This project was part of the South West Crayfish Project which was set up by a partnership of Buglife, the Environment Agency, Bristol Zoo and the Avon Wildlife Trust.
Nicky is researching the potential of male sterilisation as a control technique for signal crayfish at Bournemouth University, supervised by Professor Rob Britton and Dr Paul Stebbing of CEFAS. The research is based on field studies (including the River Barle) and laboratory work. It is also looking into the efficiency of Artificial Refuge Traps for crayfish monitoring and control.
This project is a volunteer led signal crayfish control project on the River Barle Site of Special Scientific Interest. It consists of three years of intensive trapping combined with the sterilisation and return of large males which dominate breeding behaviour. The project is innovative in that it has never been trialled in the field in the UK and has attracted interest from practioners from all over the country. In 2015 and 16 we caught 6500 crayfish in a 1.5km stretch with over 1000 males being sterilised and returned.