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10 Aug 2022

Invasive species removed from Offaly rivers

Invasive species removed from Offaly rivers

Invasive species removed from Offaly rivers

A recent Council report pointed out that an invasive species was removed from large sections of the Camcor and Little Brosna rivers during 2020.

The invasive plant is the Himalayan balsam and while it is an attractive looking plant it can take over riverbanks to the detriment of other plants.

Funding from the Heritage Council went towards this work as well as towards the County Archives Service. The funding for the two projects was €23,000.

The County Archive Service was developed by Offaly History and supported by the Council. It's located in the Axis Business Park. Work continues to develop the county archive service website www.offalyarchives.com which hosts catalogues and certain digitised material.

Himalayan Balsam outcompetes native plants for space, light and nutrients resulting in the elimination of local biodiversity.

This in turn can have a detrimental effect on local tourism and amenity use. It impedes access to riverbanks for both inspection and recreational use and, because it is an annual plant, it dies back in the winter leaving bare ground exposed to erosion. Dead material can also be contributory to flooding.

Himalayan Balsam was introduced into Ireland as an ornamental plant by the Victorians. It has flourished and spread here without the natural predators and pathogens that it is susceptible to in its native range, and when released from these constraints, it is quickly becoming one of our most aggressive invasive weeds, mainly colonising riverbanks, waste ground and wet woodlands.

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