Like many rivers the Tyne and its tributaries have been colonised by non-native plant species. In some cases they have arrived here accidently and in other cases have been brought here as a garden plant and then escaped into the wild. Often these plants have spread rapidly and formed dense patches, this alters the composition of plant species on river banks and reduces the amount of habitat available for native species. The Tyne is affected by three species in particular: Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed, which all have different impacts on our rivers and need to be controlled in different ways.
Tyne Rivers Trust is keen to reduce the spread of these species and their effect on the catchment. We have been funded by Natural England for several years to work with our volunteers who carry out surveys and control these species where they are found. Our volunteers are essential as the task is too big to do without them. As well as individuals there are local groups spread over the catchment who are keen to tackle the invasives in their area for example Hexham girl guides and Axwell Park and Derwent valley angling association.
Simone Price Volunteer Co ordinator, who is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, said “We are tackling the invasives in the Tyne catchment in a systematic way from the upper reaches of the tributaries and working our way downstream. To be successful we need to be consistent and it requires a lot of hours of work which is why our volunteers are so important. They are vital for the success of this project.”
John Wollaston, who volunteers with Tyne Rivers Trust said “Tackling invasive plant species in the Tyne is important as they reduce biodiversity as possible and can increase erosion. Pulling Balsam is really rewarding because you can make an obvious difference in a few hours and it is great knowing there will be less seeds to grow the following year. I enjoy volunteering with Tyne Rivers Trust as its really sociable, good exercise and we go to some fantastic locations.”
If you are interested in helping us to stop the spread of these species please contact Simone Price on 01434 636902 or firstname.lastname@example.org