Funding helps volunteers clear invasive species at Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve

Work by Trust volunteers to eradicate non-native invasive plants from Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve in Moray has received a funding boost from The Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation.

Staff from the Foundation meet our team at Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve

Alder woodland and coastal shingle habitats on the reserve are under threat from giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. Invasive species can quickly spread and out-compete native plants, causing further negative impacts for further up the food chain.

Support from The Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation has helped the Trust to purchase equipment including tools and protective clothing that staff and volunteers need to tackle the problem.

Cutting hogweed © Scottish Invasive Species Initiative

Michelle Henley, Reserve Projects Officer, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Invasive non-native species are one of the biggest threats to Scotland’s wildlife. When these plants are allowed to out-compete native species it can have a knock-on effect all the way up the food chain, for example by depriving butterflies of the plants they lay their eggs on.

“We are aiming to remove and control the spread of giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam to allow native species to flourish again.  Building up a strong team of local volunteers is vital for this long-term work, and the financial support from the Foundation has made a huge difference by allowing us to get more people involved.”

“We are thrilled our award will be used to help to protect this special place for generations to come.”

Kay Jackson, The Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation

Foundation manager Kay Jackson was joined by trustees Margaret Stenton and George McIntyre on a visit to the reserve to see first-hand the work which is underway. She said: “The reserve is home to habitats of both national and European importance so it is incredibly important they are protected from these invasive non-native species. We were particularly pleased to hear that a catchment-wide approach to the problem is being taken.

“As a Foundation, sustainability is something we look at very closely when considering applications so we were delighted to meet some of the local volunteers and are confident this strong team will make a real difference over the years to come.

“The beautiful Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve attracts visitors from the local area and beyond, and so we are thrilled our award of £2400 will be used to help to protect this special place for generations to come.”

“I’m very happy to be part of a caring group of like-minded people who are trying to eradicate these plants.”

Ralph Gardner, Volunteer

Volunteer Ralph Gardner said: I have lived at Spey Bay for over 30 years and have seen what harm invasive non-native species have caused to the area. I’m very happy to be part of a caring group of like-minded people who are trying to eradicate these plants. This is an ongoing task which will take several years to achieve.”

Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve is on the Moray coast eight miles north of Elgin. It is a beautiful coastal reserve with the largest shingle beach in Scotland. Constant changes in the river Spey create a succession of special habitats, including bare shingle, coastal grasslands, saltmarsh and wet woodland.

The Trust organises regular volunteer days at Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve. Find out how to get involved.

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Preface

Work by Trust volunteers to eradicate non-native invasive plants from Spey Bay Wildlife Reserve in Moray has received a funding boost from The Gordon & Ena Baxter Foundation. Alder woodland …

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