Himalayan Balsam Project 2014

Axe Invasives is appealing to everyone to find some time to tackle the ever increasing problem of the spread of Himalayan Balsam in the Axe Valley and surrounding streams in June, July and August 2014.

The project takes people to beautiful areas along the riverside where wildlife is still abundant for now and enables you to explore places not usually accessible to the public. The work is not heavy and requires no tools, just gloves and wellies and is a fun way to maintain fitness. The Axe Invasives project to manage Non Native Invasive Plants has gained funding for the 3rd year running from Natural England with this year’s focus on engaging local communities in managing their invasive plants further into the future. This Natural England project has been funded by Defra through the Water Framework Directive funding in order to put a stop to the invasion of Himalayan Balsam as it affects everybody due the major effects that the increase in the plant causes:

  •  Loss of pasture and agricultural land
  • Increase in flooding due to siltation and gravel build up caused by bank erosion.
  • Reduction in suitable fish spawning grounds
  • Decreases in the variety of wild flowers and plants which other wildlife depends on for breeding, habitat and food.

Axe Invasives will be holding discussion evenings in local venues within the Axe Valley and surrounding area and asking Parishes and Communities to attend to share their knowledge of the spread of Himalayan Balsam in the area, their experiences of how things may have changed over the years and how they feel the issue should be tackled in the long term.

A presentation will be given on the history, techniques to be used and the achievements of the project so far. At the event we would like to map already known sites through local knowledge and provide community packs which Community Champions and River Wardens will be able to use to create a management plan of their choosing. Coordinators of the local area will be provided along with a central hub from which Parishes can link together, access information, report sites and ask for help from contractors and other volunteers.

Landowners, Residents and Councillors are encouraged to attend as this is of major concern for the natural environment and the services it provides us with, unfortunately we need to tackle this issue as soon as possible as time is our enemy. If we can secure community commitment this year then we can apply for funding from organisations to carry the project into the future.

The area encompasses Devon, Dorset and Somerset with Seaton to the south, Honiton to the west, Chard to the north and Beaminster to the east. We are also tackling Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed with the help of contractors and would appreciate any information on infestations of these two plants in the Axe catchment. For further details or if you have any interest in volunteering some time to the project please get in contact via one of the ways available below.

Telephone : Louise Woolley 01395 512536 or 07905 418460 or email: Axeinvasives@outlook .com or contact us @ Axe Invasives on Facebook or Twitter.