Taking Action!

It’s here! The Balsam Action Toolkit for those community groups who are keen to take action!

The Balsam Action Toolkit, officially launched during Invasive Species Week, has been designed to help volunteer-run community action groups (new, long-established and every stage in between) to negotiate the steps to getting organised and taking action to control Himalayan balsam. The Toolkit is available as a set of downloadable guidance and working documents – just click here to visit the Balsam Action Toolkit page!

Let’s stop the spread together!

There are many things you can do to help with the control effort:

  1. Diary Dates – look out for new diary dates via this website and our social media channels. 
  2. Send in your sightings – if you spot any of our 3 target species in the lower Wye Valley AONB, click here for details of what to do next.
  3. Your Consent Please! – If you’d like to be included in our Japanese knotweed and American skunk cabbage control schedule please fill out an Landowner Consent Form and return that to us ASAP. Please note that project funding is awarded annually and cannot be guaranteed. 

Diary Dates

Report It

Check, Clean, Dry Logo

Make sure you’re not accidentally helping the spread!

It’s awful to think we personally might be contributing to the problem when we’re out enjoying the countryside, but there are ways to make sure that we don’t. The mantra we need to remember is Check, Clean, Dry:

Check your equipment, shoes and clothing for mud, aquatic animals or plant seeds and material. Remove anything you find and leave it at the site.

A small brush, or better yet, a hoof pick is great for brushing off Himalayan Balsam or American skunk cabbage seeds from those boot or tyre treads before you move into a non-infested site. 

Clean everything thoroughly as soon as you can, paying attention to areas that are damp or hard to access. Use hot water if you can. 

Dry everything for as long as you can before using elsewhere as some invasive plants and animals can survive for over two weeks in damp conditions.

For further guidance click the link here: Check, Clean, Dry

You can also:

  1. Join our Wye Valley AONB Volunteer Group – when Covid-19 restrictions allow, this group is out and about in the local area and you’re very welcome to join us. We usually meet on a Thursday and this summer we’re doing lots of work to control Himalayan balsam around the lower Wye Valley, improving and enhancing footpaths, managing grasslands, drystone walling. We’re a nice bunch and we love to welcome new volunteers. So if you like to ‘get stuck in’ with a fun outdoor project and don’t mind getting a bit of dirt under those nails, do get have a look at our Volunteering page or get in touch by email: community@wyevalleyaonb.org.uk 
  2. Join or set up your own community action group –  Social media is a great way to find out what groups are active in your local community. If there’s no group tackling  invasive species then perhaps you could set one up yourself and mobilise your neighbours and friends to join in? We’re happy to help, so do get in touch. 
  3. Help to Raise Awareness – help to spread the word within your local community about WISP and the issues with INNS. Follow the Wye Valley AONB social media channels – we’re active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  
  4. Manage your INNS where appropriate – There are positive things you can do if you find these species growing on your land. Please check out our separate Himalayan balsam, American skunk cabbage and Japanese knotweed pages for guidance on good practice.
  5. Be ‘Plant Wise’ – bearing in mind American skunk cabbage was still available for purchase in garden centres up until 2009, when visiting the garden centre do think about whether or not the plant in your basket might become an invasive. Do have a look at the WISP Resources for information about other invasive species to keep an eye out for. 
  6. Report garden waste fly-tipping – this might seem a harmless action as most garden waste breaks down well, however it can lead to the spread of garden species into the countryside and it can organically enrich areas, encouraging the growth nettles and docks that can out-compete wildflower species. Plus, it constitutes a form of fly-tipping which is illegal. Report the tip to the landowner if you know them, the highway authority if near a road, or NRW or Forestry England if on the public forestry estate. Social media is great for finding out who owns what land and for highlighting new fly-tipping activity within your community. 
  7. Support the Wye Valley AONB Fund – You can donate or fundraise for the AONB Fund and that money goes towards local environmental projects.