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Growing problem of Giant Hogweed on the Usk

 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:04 pm    Post subject: Growing problem of Giant Hogweed on the Usk Reply with quote

Author: Martin Watkins

Date published: 10-Jan-2007


A giant alien plant is invading riverbanks on the lower River Usk and it’s causing a growing problem for landowners, walkers and fishermen. Giant Hogweed on the Usk is mainly found between Crickhowell and the tidal limit downstream at Newbridge-on-Usk. It has also been found in small numbers close to the mouth of the river in Newport. In February a forum has been organised with guest speakers and an open discussion of the work of the project to tackle the problem.

The Giant Hogweed Forum has been organised for Tuesday 13 February at Coleg Gwent – Usk Campus between 7pm and 9pm. For further information please contact Stuart Craxford of Environment Agency Wales on 029 2024 5257 or Kate Rodgers of the Countryside Council for Wales on 029 2077 2400.

Giant Hogweed has a damaging effect on the native habitat, suppressing the growth of native plants and leaving banks bare of vegetation. It reduces the recreational value of the land and stops walkers and fishermen from accessing some areas. The sap from the plant can cause severe blisters, which are sensitive to sunlight, prompting public health concerns.

Working in partnership with a number of organisations including Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Countryside Council for Wales, Keep Wales Tidy, Monmouthshire County Council, The National Trust and Newport City Council Environment Agency Wales set up and funded the first phase of a project to tackle the problem. During 2005 –2006 we surveyed, mapped and developed a control strategy. The process involved substantial consultation with riparian owners and other interested parties. Existing and new information was used to map the extent of the problem on the lower Usk..

Control work on the ground started in the Spring of 2006 with efforts centred on the Crickhowell and Abergavenny areas. The aim is to stop the seed production at the upper extent of the infestation and prevent the seeds entering the river and spreading the problem downstream. This is the start of a long-term eradication programme which it is estimated will take five to ten years.

Stuart Craxford, Agency Technical Officer (Biodiversity) said: We are looking at this problem and its solution in a detailed, systematic way. Every effort is being made to reduce and contain this invasive plant on the lower Usk, where it has become a growing problem. If the work is successful there will be benefits for conservation, recreation and flood defence maintenance work.’
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KZ
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fished a stretch downstream of Usk town two or three years back and there was heaps of it then. Horrible stuff - highly irritant and the sap causes blistering, so not pleasant stuff to strim either!

Another problem on the Usk, which I've seen throughout its length, is the pretty (but horribly invasive) Himalayan Balsam.
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The_Wrecked_Train
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The powers that be (English Nature, I think) are trying different methods of control on Himalayan Balsam in the lower Wye valley, to find the best way forward for an all out blitz on it.

I must say, it,s a lovely smelling flower, but its just got totally out of control on some of our rivers. No doubt its had a detrimental effect on some of our native plants.
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3lbgrayling
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a river that i fish in scotland is almost totally swamped on one bank by giant hogweed.its almost impossible to fish that bank.it must be attacked in the spring before it get's a chance to grow.if the banks of your river are not organic ,then get sheep on them, as sheep love the plant in its early growth stages Shock

jim
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Nicepix
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a recent convert to the Kelly Kettle I now look upon plants in a different way. Giant Hogweed when dead and dried makes an excellent fuel for the KK. More the merrier I say. Very Happy
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