Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Balsam Bash by the Ribble!

Fancy wiling away a summer's day by the cool and calming waters of the River Ribble?

- and helping preserve its fantastic riverbank habitats by Bashing some Balsam while you're there?!

This Friday, 3rd July, Ribblesiders are removing the harmful invasive species Himalayan Balsam from the next stretch of the riverbanks which need our attention in Penwortham.

Local residents, with help from the
Action Ribble Estuary tributary of the Mersey Basin Campaign, hope to clear another good stretch of the Ribble's banks, starting beneath the railway bridge on the opposite bank to the New Continental pub and working upriver from there.

You could even retire to that excellent local hostelry for a well-deserved drink afterwards!

We are meeting at the Margaret Road playground's car park at 10am this coming Friday, and planning to bash Balsam until 4.30pm or so.

You are welcome to join us for the whole day or just a couple of hours, it's up to you - any help you can offer will be fantastic!
- and you get the perfect excuse to spend some quality time by the Ribble!

If it's sunny, it would be advisable to wear a hat and sunblock - especially if we get a heatwave as predicted! Bring a raincoat if it looks like rain, and wear stout shoes or boots.
Either way, bring yourself a bottle of water and a snack - and if you're staying for the day, bring a picnic to enjoy by the Ribble!

Himalayan Balsam is not a native plant but a garden import gone mad! On its own it is quite an attractive plant, growing anything between 1 and 3 metres tall and producing an abundance of pretty pink-mauve "snap-dragon" type flowers from mid-summer onwards, so it's easy to see why it was imported... but each plant also produces eight hundred easily-germinating seeds which literally explode out of the ripe seed pods and rapidly spread and swamp everything in their path.

This means that the Ribble's natural plant species and therefore the biodiversity of the riverbanks, where this invasive plant spreads so rapidly, are seriously under threat.

During our last Balsam Bash, we created our own Himalayan mountains, of rather more modest but nonetheless impressive proportions...

The Balsam has to remain on-site to rot down naturally. It CAN'T be removed from site as it might then spread elsewhere... just one seed would lead to thousands of plants within a couple of years. Uprooting just one plant will prevent 800 more next year, and 640,000 plants the following year!!

Just look at what can be achieved on one tiny stretch of riverbank before and after the Balsam is removed...

Come and join your fellow Ribblesiders on Friday, you'll find us anytime between 10am and 4.30pm on the riverbanks in Penwortham, working our way steadily upriver from the railway bridge...

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"The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart" Tanako Shozo Save The Ribble Logo