Funding will support the Himalayan Balsam removal project on the Eastern Yar River known for its bankside walking trails, birdwatching and riverside eateries. Funding received will support a growing team of volunteers to remove the weed by hand before it seeds.
Although very pretty, Balsam shades out native flora and has a detrimental effect on water voles, a legally protected species which has declined in a fifth of sites in the UK between 2007 and 2011, according to the National UK Water Vole Database and Mapping project.
Carol Flux from Natural Enterprise, a non-profit conservation organisation on the Isle of Wight, says:
“It takes about 5 years to get the plant in check. The most effective way to remove balsam is to hand pull it within the short time it grows and before it seeds, which is usually mid-May to early August. In 2013 a team of volunteers put in over 1100 hours of effort to remove over 150 tonnes of the plant infestation.”
This year £2,000 of funding is required to support ongoing volunteer work. Natural Enterprise and The Community Fund, a non-profit environmental crowd funding site, are making a plea to local residents, businesses and visitors to sponsor the project by visiting www.thecommunityfund.co.uk.
Sponsors donating over £5 will be entered into a prize draw to win a meal for two at a local restaurant.