Members will be aware that the Hampshire Avon, and also the Dorset Stour are relatively free of non-native invasive plants at the moment, but the dreaded Himalayan Balsam in particular threatens to take over unless we all pull together to do something about it.
The other two main invasives are Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed, which are not such a threat to river banks, but a menace we should all take seriously as well. Members of both RDAA and CAC have been helping out in the last three years in keeping the Balsam at bay in the Ringwood area, and we have had some really successful work parties at Lifelands and the Upper Severals, where big outbreaks have almost been stamped out completely.
Outbreaks at Bickton, Gorley and Sopley have also been dealt with, but eradication depends on continued vigilance and action, and I hope that members will carry on with their efforts to rid the banks of our rivers of Balsam in particular.
Hampshire Wildlife Trust have been attacking the stuff in the New Forest streams, and around Fordingbridge and Winkton, and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have made great strides in the Upper Avon and tributaries, especially the Nadder.
Dorset Wildlife Trust is joining forces with them, and along with the EA have managed to get funding amounting to over three million pounds to pay for a long-term project, Source to Sea, which aims to get rid of several non-native invasive plants from the Avon Valley. Anglers can play a really important role in this project, and are recognised as key contributors. The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust is going to be involved as well, and for a start we will continue with the usual Balsam removal events in July of this year. Those that attend continue to spread the word, and remove the plants whenever they see them. It is important that the sites are revisited regularly, and any surviving plants removed as they rear their pretty heads, right on into September.
Reports of Balsam spotted on the river or elsewhere are useful too, as we can keep a record and arrange for a small group to deal with any outbreaks.
If you would like to help, come to the work parties, and also attend any events and meetings for anglers that are arranged in the near future. We can play a very important, in fact, crucial role in both dealing with these plants and reporting them to the project leaders.
Protecting our river banks from these invaders is vital; if you see Balsam, pull it up or report it, and if you spot the other nasties, let somebody know about it!
Contact Pete Reading by email or call 01202 733110 for more information.
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RDAA has an established match/ competition section with approximately 23 matches and 3 open matches held each year across our Lakes and Rivers with cups and trophies for the winners, along with cash spot prizes for the secret weight.
All levels are welcome to join and costs only an additional £10 p/a. Success of the competition section is due to the no-clique atmosphere and diverse age group from 14-72 – it’s serious, but fun as well.
New members are always welcome.
Any queries, new member interest or for even more info contact the Match Secretary: Steve Martin - info can be found on our matches page.