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Himalayan threat to river habitat is overcome

Created on 16/06/2017 @ 15:41
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Up to three metre high plants have been removed from the River Severn because of their impact on native species and agricultural land.

The Severn Rivers Trust and Severn Trent Community Champions have joined forces to clear the “invasive” Himalayan Balsam from the banks of the river.

“The Severn is an important river for wildlife which has been under threat from run off of nutrients and invasion by none-native species,” said Lisa Barlow of Severn Rivers Trust, a charity working to improve habitat and water quality to increase numbers of fish in the river.
“The up to three metre high pink, white and purple flowers of Himalayan Balsam appear over the summer, blocking out not only the view of our river but the native flowers and grasses we would like to see.

“Where the bank is left bare of native plants in winter, erosion causes loss of land in agriculture and loss of clean gravels for fish to breed.
“Himalayan Balsam regrows annually from the hundreds of seeds each plant produces, so there are long term benefits when the plant is removed before it sets seed.”
Lisa added: “Many fisheries owners are concerned about the spread of Himalayan balsam and anglers have voiced concerns about it impeding access to the river bank and generally making fishing difficult.
“We are grateful to local landowners for permission to access the river bank and believe with continued coordinated support from landowners and volunteers we can control it by pulling it up, graze it, cut it or spray it.”

The activity is part of the River Friendly Severn Project supported by a Welsh Government Arwain Leader grant, Severn Trent and the Postcode Lottery. 

The project is an Environment Agency initiative being piloted in Powys by the Severn Rivers Trust to bring together communities to help keep our river water clean.

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