The Trust staff have been resurveying the rivers this year to assess the increase/reduction in invasive species since the original surveys in 2008/2009. We have been actively controlling invasive species on our rivers for some time assisted by the many volunteers that have undertaken spraying training and have made great reductions in Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed where it occurred however, I feel that I should stress that anglers and landowners have a part to play when it comes to dealing with Himalayan balsam, the 3rd invasive plant on our hit list. This plant is easy to recognise and requires nothing more than being uprooted to prevent it spreading. If every angler on our rivers took a moment to pull the balsam plants that they see, the problem would be greatly reduced. If we don’t get on top of it now, I fear the Girvan will become as badly affected as the Garnock, Irvine and Stinchar within the next few years. We have a window of opportunity to tackle this with minimum effort and the time is now.

Helen holding a tall Himalayan Balsam plant pulled at Cairnhill today. Helen is about 5'9" tall so this plant easily exceeds 6'. It was clearly visible above native bankside vegetation. Keep a look out and take a minute to pull any you see.

Helen holding a tall Himalayan Balsam plant pulled at Cairnhill today. Helen is about 5’9″ tall so this plant easily exceeds 6′. It was clearly visible above native bankside vegetation. Keep a look out and take a minute to pull any you see.

Whilst electrofishing today, Helen and I came across a few plants poking their heads above the native vegetation around Dailly and downstream to Cairnhill. We puled all that we saw (and there weren’t many) and I’m certain it didn’t add more than 5 minutes to our day. ┬áThese areas need continued effort from owners, anglers and volunteers alike. A single flowering plant left unchecked will lead to hundreds next year. I will ask Meryl, our Carrick invasive species officer to see if she can assist by coordinating an event. I’m sure one day in the next week or so will save the population exploding next year.

Finally, we noticed that the river was dirty downstream of Dailly. We started the day upstream of Kilkerran and didn’t notice anything unusual so presumably the problem lies between Kilkerran and Dailly (unless it has cleared upstream). We spent an hour looking for the source of the silt but had to give up and return to electofishing but if anyone knows where the problem starts please give the Trust a call and we will investigate. I asked Gillian to report this to SEPA for me so perhaps they will find it.

The Girvan at Brunston Castle Golf course. The source of the dirty water must be upstream of Dailly but where exactly?

The Girvan at Brunston Castle Golf course. The source of the dirty water must be upstream of Dailly but where exactly?

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2 Responses to Himalayan Balsam Warning

  1. james allan says:

    i believe the silt comes from a small burn, which runs from an old coal mined area. this is near the entrance to brunston golf course.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      James,
      that’s the Quarrelhill Burn you are talking about. It was running crystal clear the day we were there so it isn’t the culprit. There was a recent incident with maintenance at the reed beds recently and this will be sorted out hopefully soon however the colour we are referring to stems from elsewhere within the catchment.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Stuart