Invasive Weed Control Project
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As the year 2013 comes to an end, we are pleased to announce that much progress has been made on the River Conwy. The efforts to eradicate the Himalayan Balsam have been generally good save for the region withing the bounds of the railway line, where Balsam thrives but British Rail seem uninterested in addressing the issue. This Trust continues to persuade British Rail to address the matter. There is still much to be done and those working on the programme are determined to continue their efforts.
Work on the River Clwyd system has not progressed as well as was planned, circumstances combined to foil the attempt to achieve the target for the year, but valuable lessons have been learned and big improvements are anticipated for next year.
The numbers of volunteer working on this important project are very limited so volunteers will be made most welcome and their efforts much appreciated. WE NEED MORE HELP so if you are willing to assist please email the Trust admin via the link provided on the front page.
I am writing to bring you up to date with the above programme and what has been happening in the intervening period since the training course was complete. By now the majority will have taken the exams succesfully and are qualified to apply the procedures taught for application on the river bank. On behalf of the Welsh Dee Trust and the Clwyd and Conwy Rivers Trust I wish to congratulate all those who have been successful and I hope you have, by now, received your qualifying certificates. For anyone who was unsuccesful, it does not mean the end of the road, quite the contrary because as you have experience on the methodology being applied you are at an advantage as being a person who has wider knowledge and therefore able to assist other volunteers practically in safer operations, who ever may be involved. The only restriction is that you will need to work alongside a person who has the formal qualification. For all who have qualified you are obviously free to tackle the issues on your waters as well as elsewhere under arrangement, and in time I hope this widening of treatment along with other volunteers will increase. One person failed to complete because of serious injury (inflicted on a cricket field and not as part of the programme) and he will be able to complete the course this winter if fit.
I had hoped that by now I would have had the equipment and herbicide to enable you to take direct action on the ground, unfortunately the financial payments have been slow in coming through and while the course has been paid for and I also have a list of materials and equipment that is required, unfortuntaly it has not been possible to process the latter as yet. I have been assured that the payments are coming through to achieve my aims but until they arrive I cannot proceed on this element. What I would like to achieve if possible in the few weeks of the year remaining, particulalrly when the anglers are out fishing, is to obtain as much accurate detailed information on the distribution spread of Knotweed and Balsam on your respective beats. At this time, maximum growth in the plants has been attained and therefore it is slightely easier to record details of distribution. We are endeavouring to get hard copy maps printed for circulation but until you receive them please record as much information as is possible on your respective beats. On the Clwyd and Elwy maps have been circulated earlier in the summer and Richard Lucas and myself are presently endeavouring to achieve the same on the Dee. Until you are in receipt of maps, please record all the information in whatever form you can so that it can be transposed on to formal maps at a future time and then transfered on to a database. A database system is already in operation on the Clwyd and a system for the Dee is close to being realised as well. The Welsh Dee Trust are active in achieveing this goal as well so comprehensive recording of catchment information can be attained.
For 2010/11 I have sought and received approval from the Countryside Council for Wales for an expansion of the Invasive Weed Control Programme and there will be a further training course which is planned to be streamlined for the one undertaken this year, which will be an improvement. There will also be additional elements to assist the programme of treatment on the ground. More details will provided shortly but it is intended to run this over the winter so trained operatives are in a position to take active action on the ground for a greater length of time than was possible this year. Volunteers are sought from the Dee, Clwyd and the Conwy this year and as well as angling club participation I wish to expand it to other volunteer groups and personnel that fall outside angling clubs but who wish to still be involved in the programme. I am presently anxious to assemble new potential trainees and ask if you know of anyone who would be interested in becoming qualified and be involved in the Trusts Invasive Weed Control Programme. Please send any names of suitable people through to me either by my email or telephone 01244-674909 or by letter as required 3, Selkirk Drive, Curzon Park, Chester, Cheshire, CH4 8AQ.
Shortly there is to be arranged an angling clubs meeting on the Clwyd system where the programme to date and plans for the future can be discussed, as occurred twice earlier in the year. Discussions are in place to establish whether a similar meeting over the winter could be co-ordinated on the Dee as well.
I hope I have covered most aspects to date but if there are outstanding issues then please do not hesitate to contact me. I will also be very interested on the progress you are making on your own beats. I will continue to bring you updates on progress on a regular basis and I would like to thank you for your support so far and I hope that we can progress collectively and effectively in the future.
The Trust is determined to rid the Clwyd and Conwy river systems of the curse of Himalayan Balsam but can not do it without help. Help not only from angling clubs or angling organisations but volunteers from all walks of life. You may well recognise this:
Clwyd and Conwy Rivers Trusts and Welsh Dee Trust – CCW and Keep Wales Tidy Funded Project
The Clwyd and Conwy Rivers Trusts and Welsh Dee Trust are developing a programme to tackle the problems of aquatic invasive weed spread within their respective catchment areas. There are three plant species that are being specifically targeted: Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam. The latter will be the most challenging, but it is hoped by a constructive approach and a combined effort of the majority of interests, that considerable progress will be made. Over time, new developments may well speed up this programme but it is important from the outset to have a structured programme with an agreed method of approach, together with as many people as possible trained in the treatment and eradication process.
The Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency and Keep Wales Tidy are all supportive of the project and will be contributing to its development and advancement over the next few years. Angling clubs, riparian owners and other interests are becoming actively involved in the project and the programme is intended to assist, complement and make more effective the actions that are already being undertaken.
There are four key components to the programme initially:
1) There needs to be a nominated person from each angling club, syndicate, estate etc, who can operate as a point of contact to advance the Project in the respective locality.
2) There will be a programme of mapping of the catchment and detailing the areas and the extent of problem from invasive weeds within those problem areas. This database will incorporate ownership and the extent of ownership, while taking account of the requirements of the Data Protection Act. There will be a need to identify personnel that will be willing to assist the process of data collection in each main locality. A central co-ordinator will transfer this information to a central database that will integrate with other monitoring systems on the catchment.
3) There will be a need to identify the most suitable person/s to undertake the training course for herbicide treatment and who is also willing to co-ordinate an operational team to undertake the work in their own designated locality. Over the next 3 months it is anticipated that a team of people will be appropriately trained and become qualified to help fulfil the task ahead
4) A structured programme of treatment will advance according to the findings under 2) above and following discussions with appointed representatives and specialists.
The programme is intended to continue over a number of years as the scale of the problem is extensive and will be difficult to address. Similar initiatives are already taking place on other river catchments and consultation between Trusts to maximise the level of success in achieving the objectives, will be undertaken.
Already meetings with local angling clubs have taken place on the River Clwyd to address the key components listed above and, on the Welsh Dee catchment, letters have been circulated to many angling clubs and riparian owners to enrol interested parties into the programme of work ahead. It is anticipated that training will be advanced in April and a database developed in the spring with associated actions on the ground for actual treatment in early summer.
Reporting an environmental incident
To report an environmental incident such as suspected poaching, pollution or wildlife crime, the dumping of hazardous or industrial waste and illegal abstraction from watercourses etc, call Natural Resources Wales’ incident hotline on 0300 065 3000 (24 hour service).