Kelly Ann Dempsey is the Project Officer for the Environmental Strategy / River South Esk Catchment Partnership and here she tells us about an ambitious project to eradicate invasive weeds throughout the entire catchment of the River South Esk.
The River South Esk catchment in Angus is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for Atlantic salmon and freshwater pearl mussels and Montrose Basin, the large enclosed estuary of the River South Esk is a Ramsar site, Special Protection Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The catchment supports a wide range of economic activities such as farming, forestry, fisheries, tourism and recreation.
Undertaking a catchment wide invasive weed eradication project has been no small feat for the River South Esk Catchment Partnership, but progress in 2010 was very successful.
Large swathes of the catchment have been treated using Roundup Bioactive and by late October in excess of 180,000 m2 of Giant Hogweed was sprayed beginning in the middle of the catchment and over 14,500 m2 of Japanese Knotweed were sprayed in the three main areas of infestation.
The project, led by the Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust, began again in March this year as seed banks in the soil and re-growth will contribute to new plants in future years, hence the need for continued spraying over several consecutive years. This continued treatment will not only allow greater access to areas of the catchment but it is also of great benefit to native species. The knock-on effect of treating the catchment upstream of Montrose Basin will hopefully be visible on the reserve in the near future.
A river watch scheme has also been developed by the Partnership, allowing the public to report invasive weeds, fresh water pearl mussel poaching, species sightings and many other topics.
River watch can be found on the Partnerships new site http://theriversouthesk.org/ along with copies of the Partnership’s newsletter, an educational zone and links to other useful sites.
Phase two of the Partnership’s catchment management plan is due to begin in June 2011 where we will focus on River restoration, GIS technologies and green corridor enhancement.
For further information please contact Kelly Ann Dempsey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Ann – Project Officer for the Environmental Strategy / River South Esk Catchment Partnership