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C.A.T.C.H. Action Day on Sunday 19th July – Balsam Bashing

Friday 17 July 2015, 21:53
By Dave Smith

Pulling up Himalayan Balsam with the C.A.T.C.H. team

The C.A.T.C.H. team have organised a public action day for this Sunday, 19th July, 10am till 12 noon, meeting at the David Sharpe Centre, Wincanton Recreation Ground, near the cemetery. The specific purpose of this event is the pulling up Himalayan Balsam; an invasive, non-native plant species that takes over the river bank and damages the ecosystem by preventing our native species from thriving, which can in turn change the way the river banks are supported by vegetation.

Himalayan Balsam is often incorporated into private gardens because it produces attractive flowers, but it is possible most gardeners are unaware of the damage this invader can do, especially to river channels. It’s likely the plant ends up on our river banks because it gets washed downstream from gardens that connect with the river, potentially miles upstream and well beyond Wincanton’s borders

The C.A.T.C.H. plan is to work against the aggressive spread of Himalayan Balsam along the banks of the River Cale by coordinating ‘Balsam Bashing’ sessions, timed according to when the plant is most easily identified but before it can produce seeds and spread. It is reckoned that the plant will be seeding imminently so we need to get down there and pull it all up! Once pulled, the plant can be left to dry and die in the sun, as a means to dispose of it without risk of seeds finding their way back into the river.

This event will combine with the usual litter picking along the Wincanton stretch of the Cale. It won’t be a heavy duty task so everyone is welcome and encouraged to get involved with this highly rewarding work. Children must be accompanied by an adult

Suitable clothing and footwear is recommended, though requirements are largely weather dependent. High-vis vests, gloves and litter pickers will be provided but you’ll need your own wellies or waders. In the event of bad weather the event will be suitably restricted to reduce risk, especially near the water.

It is important that anyone who wants to take part is on-site for the 10am health and safety briefing. C.A.T.C.H. takes these matters extremely seriously, given the physical nature of the work. Insurance cover is contingent upon adherence to safety guidelines

For more information contact C.A.T.C.H. directly on 07597 127187, on their website at www.rivercale.org or on Facebook. Check out the archive of C.A.T.C.H. articles here on the Wincanton Window, including reports, photo galleries and several videos covering many of the team’s activities and achievements over the last two years.




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