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The award-winning Plant Positive project are once again back out in the East Wight and are inviting new people to join their band of volunteers who tackle Himalayan Balsam – one of the most invasive non-native plant species on the Island’s rivers.

Since 2013, volunteers have made great progress on bringing the infestation under control on much of the lower Eastern Yar and Wroxall Stream. Here native herby vegetation has started to return. However, the team tackle new areas each year, as well as visiting previous sites to eliminate any plants that have returned.

As well as out-pollinating and out-shading our native flora and threatening the extraordinary biodiversity of our river habitats, Himalayan Balsam dies back in winter, leaving our riverbanks bare and vulnerable to erosion and increased flooding.  It is thought that this loss of plant diversity and bank erosion is also contributing significantly to the decline of one of the UK’s rarest mammals, the water vole.

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Carol Flux, the Project Manager explains:

“We would love new volunteers to join the balsam team. Pulling Himalayan balsam out at the root before it has a chance to seed is an effective method of control, and we also have some volunteers using scythes. It’s an easy job, lots of fun and a great excuse to work outside in some of our loveliest river-side spots!

“It’s great for individuals to come ‘on the pull’ with us, or we are happy to take out groups”.

If you would like to give a hand Himalayan Balsam-pulling this summer, contact Carol Flux on 01983 201563 or [email protected]. No experience necessary as training will be given on the day.

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