As part of BART’s ongoing corporate social responsibility (CSR) volunteering days, we have been busy with groups of volunteers from Babcock International, DEFRA and IOP Publishing to remove invasive Himalayan Balsam from a conservation area near Pensford. This essential work will help reduce the pressure on native understory vegetation along this tributary of the River Chew and promote more biodiverse and resilient river habitat in the area.
Lord’s Wood is a beautiful mixed woodland adjacent to the Candlestick Stream, a tributary of the River Chew, running through. Sadly, much of the site hosts large patches of Himalayan balsam. This non-native and invasive species growing up to 3m tall out-competes native understory vegetation and can undermine riverbanks when it dies off in the winter months, causing erosion and releasing sediment into rivers which impacts instream habitats, such as smothering river bed gravels and impacting species that rely upon clean well oxygenated gravels, such as fish and invertebrates. Preferring wet, well-lit areas and having seeds easily dispersed by water, balsam is a serious threat to our river environments. BART’s balsam bash events are vital in eliminating the spread of invasive weeds, and its crucial to deliver these throughout June and July, before balsam releases its seed. This activity is important in protecting and restoring our river habitats.
Thanks to the hard work from all the volunteers who came out from Babcock International, DEFRA and IOP Publishing we were able to clear a large amount of balsam from Lord’s Wood. This event is part of an ongoing effort to remove Himalayan balsam from this site and has made a significant contribution towards protecting our rivers and the surrounding area.
Balsam ‘bashing’ is just one of many volunteering opportunities we offer at BART which include river cleans, tree planting and river restoration days. If your company would be interested in one of our CSR volunteering days please get in touch via: firstname.lastname@example.org