LUTANUIS : a cross-border project to control the muskrat
18 avril 2016 Michel DE PROFT
Development Animal ecology Ecotoxicology Crop production Pests and diseases u4 article

Context

Due to the damage it does to the banks of rivers and streams, nearby crops and even hydraulic structures, and due to also to its prolificacy and lack of natural regulation, nearly a century after its first introduction on to the European continent the muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus L.) is still a major pest requiring relentless control measures. Within the Walloon region, control is primarily organised and carried out by the Muskrat Trapping Department of the Regional Government of Wallonia (DGRNE – Water Division). Control is based on an integrated approach combining trapping with chemical control.
Muskrat in its environment
Muskrat in its environment

Objectives

The main aim of the project is more effective muskrat control in the areas of France and Wallonia concerned (Mouscron / Comines), along the border to begin with and ultimately over the whole area, by means of synchronisation with other players involved and pooling of techniques and know-how. One of the tools used is the development of a re-infestation indicator and its application throughout the project area. Control strategies will be also refined and adjusted on the basis of studies and scientific tests undertaken. The results of this work and the cooperative links created by the project will be disseminated via a cross-border symposium and a bilingual (French / Dutch) Website.

Expected results

1) Optimised control with the aid of toxic bait on the Walloon side and trapping equipment on the French side in order to lower the critical limit for centres of infestation, notably by increasing the material resources and personnel deployed. The ultimate aim is to stop cross-border muskrat migration. 2) Development of reliable re-infestation indicators for use by all the partners by an evaluation team formed by the Flemish Region (Government of the Flemish Community) with the assistance of the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre. 3) Greater synchronisation of control measures. Pooling of the various players’ knowledge and know-how in order to work with common maps and identical trapping methods. 4) Raising public awareness in the cross-border area. A study will be conducted by CRA W on harmonising environmentally friendly control methods (ecotoxicity and safeguarding non-target species). The results will be published on a Website targeted at the general public and muskrat control specialists. The information will also be made available to political decision-makers and control specialists via a symposium.

Coordinator (CRA-W)

Team involved

Partners

Groupement Intercantonal de Lutte contre le Rat Musqué, 10, Rue Jean Villain – F59630 Bourbourg, France. Union des Syndicats d'Assainissement du Nord, USAN, 5, Rue du Bas B.P. 07, 59481 Radinghem en Weppes Cedex, France. Province de Flandre occidentale (Western Flanders Province), 41, Boulevard Léopold III, B-8200 Bruges, Belgium. Government of the Flemish Community, Water Division, 20 boite 5, Boulevard Emile Jacquemain, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium. Regional Government of Wallonia, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Water Division, Non-navigable Waterways Section, 15, Avenue Prince de Liège, B 5100 JAMBES, Belgium.