Himalayan Balsam Removal: Rivers Stour, Box and Brett Enhancement Project

We have partnered with Essex and Suffolk Water on a three year Himalayan Balsam removal focusing on the Rivers Stour, Box, Brett and Lavenham Brook. 

Our rivers are key wildlife corridors that are used by a wide and diverse range of animals, birds and plants. They provide free movement between habitats, safe refuge, plentiful food supplies and also allow many to complete their lifecycles. Unfortunately, all too often our river flora and fauna includes invasive non-native species (INNS). Plants and animals that can dominate, outcompeting our native species, often spreading disease and causing habitat loss and damage to our riverbank, and predating on our native species.

As its name suggests, Himalayan balsam is from the Himalayas and was introduced here in 1839 as a garden plant. However, it soon escaped beyond gardens into the wild, and it is now an invasive weed of riverbanks and ditches. It is fast growing and spreads quickly, its explosive seed pods sending seeds into the river and easily spreading downstream. It’s pretty pink flowers belay a voracious riverbank hugging plant which prevents our own UK native species from growing and can cause erosion of our riverbanks, impacting the quality of our water and our river species.

 

 

Carrying on from the work of our partners, the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Projects (DVSVP), we are continuing to target and control the presence of Himalayan balsam along the River Stour, River Box and River Brett.

In June and July 2021, we carried out several days of Himalayan Balsam pulling on the rivers in East Suffolk. Through walking along the river and river banks, we have aimed to clear these rivers of the balsam, and will return in 2022 to survey the results, and carry out another pull, with the aim of reducing the amount of balsam on these rivers as much as possible. 

If you are interested in helping out, please email us at info@essexsuffolkriverstrust.org 

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