On a lovely sunny Tuesday morning the River Bollin at Hale was surveyed. It is very important to keep monitoring areas that have been treated to determine how effective the treatment was, and work has been ongoing here for the past three years.
The area surveyed was from Hale Waste Water Treatment Works to Hale Golf Club; a 5km stretch of river well known for its forests of Giant Hogweed and Giant Japanese Knotweed. This area adjoins the piece of land Friends of Bowdon Bollin manage, so controlling invasive species here is beneficial to the work they are doing.
A survey was first done by a volunteer in 2013, with invasive species control happening right away once we knew the severity of the problem. BEACON liaised with the landowners, United Utilities, the National Trust Dunham Massey and our own trained volunteers to plan out how we could all work together to control these invasive nasties.
Most notable was a crop of Giant Japanese Knotweed along the riverbank in 2013. This covered over 100m2 and was taking over almost entirely. Now it has been reduced to a small bunch of dead stems and a few small live shoots that will be treated this year. Unfortunately the Himalayan Balsam has taken the opportunity to seed on the newly open ground, but this is much easier to deal with.
The fence line for Hale Waste Water Treatment Works and field margins were hugely affected by Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed. The plant populations here have not been entirely eradicated, but hugely reduced in number thanks to everyone’s efforts.
The greatest success story BEACON has had so far is the transformation of a small piece of woodland opposite Hale Golf Club, which three years ago was full of Himalayan Balsam. Student volunteers from Manchester University, exchange students from Singapore, Hale Golf Club Volunteers and BEACON Volunteers have all pitched in over the years to balsam bash here and the results speak for themselves.
So well done all the volunteers, landowners, contractors and partner organisations that have helped make this a real success story, and BEACON aims to carry on this good work for the 2016 season.