June Balsam Report

June 25, 2014

Balsam report June 25th 2014

The Tale Valley Trust has been removing Himalayan balsam from the river corridor and adjacent feeder streams since 2005. Volunteers have always been forthcoming and with their treasured help the 6 mile stretch has been covered initially in 2.5 days and in recent years in a single day.

In 2012 the TVT was awarded a 3 year grant by Defra’s Local Action Group Biodiversity programme for non-native species.  This has helped with tools, waders, newsletters & community awareness events, as well as funding professional control of Japanese knotweed in the valley.  This in turn has brought recognition & appreciation from local parishes together with some funding from the parish councils.

In April a meeting was hosted by the Clinton Devon Estate in the lower Otter Valley bringing together a cross section of interested parties in the catchment.  The TVT was cited as an example of ‘best practice’.  We attended the meeting to share information, encourage, & learn.  We are very fortunate to have volunteers who make such a difference and bring such enthusiasm to the tasks at hand.

Recently posters erected by the Otter Valley Association (OVA) have appeared along the banks (footpaths), of the Otter inviting the Public to ‘Bash the Balsam’ & giving dates of organised sessions.  This is all very positive and public help has been greatly appreciated.

So too was our first 2014 day in the river.  8 volunteers working in pairs covered the 6 miles in 7.5 hours.  For the first few miles less than 50 plants were found.  By the time we reached Cadhay Bridge at the confluence we had collectively found no more than 300 plants. The worst patch was around Fairmile in the area of ‘no man’s land’. ‘Our’ water voles appear to be thriving also which always brings a smile to our volunteers' faces who haven't yet seen them!

Diffuse pollution continues to be an issue in the valley & the West Country Rivers Trust is looking into conducting an in depth investigation into the source(s) of these high nutrient levels. Fish life is nevertheless abundant and fry of several species fill every still pool & backwater.

Get Social_