Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

The CFF recently met with NRW officers to express our concerns regarding the spread of Himalayan Balsam along our rivers and to inform them of our intent to address this issue.

NRW confirmed that it is also their intention to take action to deal with this increasing problem. In particular at this point in time they are keen to determine the extent of its spread and how far up the Tywi catchment it occurs including its tributaries. This is contained within a broader project entitled Taclo’r Tywi.

Taclo’r Tywi is a new initiative Carmarthenshire Natural Resource Management (NRM) Team are embarking on.  Areas of concern include amongst others water quality, non-native invasive species, biodiversity, fisheries and flooding.  The aim of the initiative is to engage with all interested parties and through collaboration, develop a practical plan for the future management of the Tywi catchment.

How can we all help?

Individual anglers.

  • CFF requests anglers to get involved and help identify the extent of the problem along our rivers and particularly in the upper reaches. We all know the seed is transported down river so it is important to tackle any eradication from the “top down”.
  • Anglers can help by recording the presence of the balsam when we are out fishing. There is a free mobile phone application called “Plant Tracker” specifically designed to record invasive plant species. 
  • Follow this link to find out more: 

http://www.planttracker.org.uk/    

This is a free application that you can download onto your smart phone and use to record invasive species. 

Clubs and Riparian Owners. 

  • If clubs and landowners are already carrying out control, NRW would like to build up a picture of what is being done to inform future management plans. Details can be forwarded to Mrs Alison Baird or another member of the Carmarthenshire NRM Team.

Email: NRMCarmarthenshire@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

NRW Customer contact Centre: 0300 065 3000 (and ask for a member of the Carmarthenshire NRM Team)

Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

  • NRW is obtaining distribution data in order to highlight specific areas in the upper catchment where they currently do not have records. They want to verify whether the balsam is present or not in these areas. The information will shape their management plans/projects in their efforts to deal with the problem.
  • NRW is producing information for those interested in knowing more and may wish to carry out direct control measures.
  • NRW is in the process of providing stakeholders with species and best practice management. We will post this information on our CFF website.
  • NRW is obtaining the Himalayan Balsam extent maps/data and aim to provide these on their website in the near future. We will include a link on our CFF website.

Funding

  • NRW’s “Taclo’r Tywi” project is not a source of funding at present, but there may be other opportunities where clubs can apply for grants and funding. The following link takes you to NRWs funding webpage which provides updates and information on grants and opportunities which support the people, environment and wildlife of Wales:

https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/funding/?lang=en .

NRW are willing to provide technical information required to support individual applications.

  • As the project progresses and aims and objectives are better defined, NRW also hope to be able to secure funding to address some of the problems identified.
  • The kind of data that we can help to supply is invaluable in making the case for scarce resources – so please do what you can to identify and report the presence of invasive species that you observe.

To help you identify the species please see:

  • Himalayan Balsam Plant Identification

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=480

http://www.nonnativespecies.org/factsheet/factsheet.cfm?speciesId=1810

  • Himalayan Balsam grows from Spring through to Autumn (April to October) and flowers July to October. The optimum time to carry out manual management such as hand pulling is early summer before the flowers set seed in mid-July. Further seeds may then germinate therefore revisits are likely required to pull subsequent plants.
  • Giant Hog Weed Plant Identification

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=458

http://www.nonnativespecies.org/factsheet/factsheet.cfm?speciesId=1705 

N.B. Giant Hogweed, which has been identified as an issue on the River USK, has not yet become established on the Tywi. Please note that care must be taken if this species is found because the sap contains toxic chemicals which can cause skin to burn and blister when exposed to sunlight. Early identification and species distribution information may be key in informing management plans to tackle such species before they take hold.