Monday, July 09, 2012

Highland Council to act on Auldearn Burn Giant Hogweed – but what about invasive species infestations on the River Nairn?

This observer notes from the BBC website: “Highland Council has secured a grant from Scottish Natural Heritage to eradicate giant hogweed on the Auldearn Burn, near Nairn, and Munlochy.” Full article here.

Previous work had been undertaken on the Auldearn Burn but there is still more to be done and according to a Highland Council press release: “At Auldearn the cover has reduced significantly since 2006 but there are still a few plants springing up due to the large seedbed and the fact the seeds can stay dormant for over 5 years, but it is very much under control.”  The press release continues, “In 2012 a further 4 years of funding of Giant Hogweed Control coordination was secured from SNH with match funding from Highland Council. This will continue the work underway in Auldearn and Munlochy. This is a long term project but by acting now, a great deal of money will be saved both in erms of control costs and also reducing any income lost due to this plants impact on local businesses.” Press release here.

That’s excellent news for the native species on the Auldearn Burn but what about the River Nairn itself? Once again it has been an excellent year for the Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed. Gurnites will remember the launch in March by the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust launching a co-ordinated campaign (see Gurn article here) to eradicate these species locally. So far on the lower river Nairn from the Firhall Bridge to the harbour there doesn’t seem to have been any spraying of these invasive species apart from River Community Council spraying a small section between the A96 and the sewage bridge.Athough it seems one or two individuals have been cutting down the Giant Hogweed before it seeds.

Will there be a co-ordinated attempt on the lower part of the River Nairn this year and who will do the spraying?  It’s excellent that the Auldearn Burn will receive more attention but the native flora and fauna of the River Nairn need protection from these invasive species too.


Toff legacy said...

Most of these 'invasive species' were brought to the UK by the Victorian gentry for their gardens. No mention of rhododendrons in your article but they are yet another invasive species wiping out vast tracks of native moorland and woodland in some areas, and there are certainly many of them in and around Nairn, and still being sold by garden centres!

James Dunbar said...

I can tell you that work is being carried out on the Giant hog weed on the river Nairn by the land owners such as Cawdor, Killravock and geddes in association with the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossiemouth river trust (Member of RAFTS). They have been spraying parts of the river for the last couple of years and will continue to do so for the next 5-10 years. This problem will not disappear over night and a lot off hard work and effort has already been carried out by these landowners.

Graisg said...

Is sorting the Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Japenese Knotweed between Firhall and the harbour down to Highland Council as part of this co-ordinated attempt then James?

James Dunbar said...

I would say yes and I believe that the council have sprayed parts of the "Town Water" over the last number of years as well (I don't have the exact details) but the Highland council have tied in with the FNLRT and the funding is pooled for the eradication of the Invasive non native species (INNS)that are growing along the river bank and other areas. As I said, the local land owners are also doing their bit to eradicate these Weeds by spraying them. The worst affected areas are in the Geddes, Cawdor and Killravock stretches of the river and over the next few years we hope to have it under control and eventually eradicated.