Every year, around now, our thoughts turn to how we are going to deal with the problem of invasive species in our rivers. We have been campaigning and acting for years on this topic, most especially in connection with the nasty Giant Hogweed. Other species pose a threat to wildlife, property of flood risk but GH poses a serious risk to human health. The sap, if it gets onto your skin, will cause long-lasting photosensitive burns. It needs totally eliminating.
Fortunately, thanks largely to funding by the Environment Agency, substantial progress has been made along the Aire and there are few occurrences above Esholt; the same cannot be said below there, so we were especially pleased to hear that the EA and Yorkshire Water are to fund ongoing work to control and hopefully eliminate not only GH but also other important species. The text below is from a briefing recently issued by the EA:
The Environment Agency have a Yorkshire INNS Strategy for Flood Defence Works. This targets three key species (Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Floating Pennywort) for potential management.
As a result the Environment Agency will be undertaking the following INNS-related work in 2019/20:
- Surveying for Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Floating Pennywort on the following main rivers: Swale / Ure / Nidd / Ouse / Wharfe / Hull. There will also be additional discrete surveys for 5 more INNS on the headwaters of these rivers (Himalayan balsam, Orange balsam, giant butterbur, American skunk cabbage, monkey flower). All this data will be supplied to YWT by a bulk upload at the end of the survey year;
- Treating Floating Pennywort on the main rivers of the Don, Calder and Aire. To this aim we will continue to work in partnership with the Canal and Rivers Trust to manage this species on all of Yorkshire’s rivers and navigations;
- Treating Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed on the following main rivers of south & west Yorkshire:
- The River Aire (and associated main river tribs) from its headwaters in Malham down to the confluence with the Ouse;
- The River Calder from headwaters to Luddendon Foot and also at Dewsbury;
- The River Rother (and associated main river tribs) from headwaters to confluence with the river Don at Rotherham;
- The River Don from (approximately) Rotherham down to the confluence with the Ouse;
- The River Dearne (and associated main river tribs) from headwaters to confluence with the river Don.
Some additional points:
As before, all our INNS work will be undertaken by our framework contractor the River Stewardship Company;
- Yorkshire Water are now a formal partner with us, and contribute financially to the above programme;
- There will be targeted engagement with key landholders throughout Yorkshire (mainly Local Authorities);
- There will be some additional targeted treatment of giant hogweed on the River Don upstream of Sheffield;
- Will Kitts (Asset Performance Catchment Officer) and I sit on the steering group of the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum (YISF), and we share all our INNS work through this forum;
- Erica Adamson and I sit on the Yorkshire Floating Pennywort Forum and we share all our pennywort work through this forum.
For further information on invasive species work that the Environment Agency are undertaking please contact Andy Virtue at firstname.lastname@example.org’