Just to let you all know that it is not just up north that INNS control is taking place and we are running an INNS project down here on the River Annan. We have been battling the usual suspects of Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and American mink.
Japanese knotweed has been treated using the stem injection system and the impact on the plant in the first year has been extremely encouraging. We aim to inject all visible stems that are large enough and results can normally be seen after 2 weeks. We have managed to treat around 80% of the known knotweed in the catchment at least once using this method.
To control Himalayan balsam we have been working with the Criminal Justice Service (CJS) who have provided teams of unpaid workers (as they are now called) who have been cutting and hand pulling balsam along the river. As part of the project 5 of the unpaid workers received Lantra brushcutter training increasing their chances of future employment. Unfortunately as with many places the Himalayan balsam population has literally exploded this year covering 3 or 4 times as much of the catchment as in the previous years.
American mink control has been more successful and the number of mink in the upper catchment has been heavily reduced. This is being backed up by the number of prints recorded on rafts as well as anecdotal evidence from anglers. We hope to build more rafts and expand the operation further downstream and into the tributaries of the Annan over the next few months.