Over the last four years the Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) has been a partner in a cross-border project to tackle invasive species.
And now the ‘Controlling Invasives, Restoring Biodiversity (CIRB) project is coming to an end.
Project partners were from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, all of which have undertaken large-scale control of invasive plants in Ireland, Ayrshire, Tweed Valley, Argyll and Galloway
GFT led the work across Galloway with nearly 30,000 square metres of Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed controlled across the banks of the River Luce, Piltanton Burn, Bladnoch, Water of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee and Urr over four years.
In addition to GFT staff and contractors undertaking the control work, 12 local volunteers were trained in pesticide application to City and Guilds standards and they are actively involved in killing the invasive plants annually.
In addition to the control work, various aspects of biosecurity awareness and public events have been run through the project with the aim of reducing the spread of alien species around the region.
A CIRB ‘end of project’ two day conference was recently held in the North West Castle Hotel in Stranraer.
GFT then led a field trip to the Water of Luce which considered various issues including the reactivation of Japanese knotweed rhizomes (roots) following ground disturbance even after the plant appears dead for years. Although the CIRB project is coming to an end the GFT, local District Salmon Fishery Boards andvolunteers will continue to control these invasive plants along river banks.
The project has been part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme. . Queens University Belfast (QUB) undertook associated research looking at the success of various control techniques and considered how similar programmes should be undertaken in the future.
The Trust is always looking for more volunteers to help in their work, see www.gallowayfisheriestrust.org for contact details. It would help if any members of the public reported any sightings of Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed or balsam on the following website www.inns.rafts.org.uk.