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Invasive species threatens Loughshore wildlife reserve

Himalyan Balsam - invasive species.

Himalyan Balsam - invasive species.

Ulster Wildlife is seeking volunteers to help eradicate - an invasive alien super weed, which they say is destroying an important nature reserve on the shores of Lough Neagh.

Volunteers are needed to remove the Himalayan balsam plants- on Saturday 19 July from 11am to 3pm at Moyola Waterfoot, on the shores of Lough Neagh.

Listed as one of the top-ten most wanted invasive species, Himalayan balsam has rapidly colonised this picturesque nature reserve - which forms part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest - and is on the verge of choking out native wildlife.

Willy McNamara, Nature Reserves Officer with Ulster Wildlife said eradiation was essential to protect the nature reserve’s biodiversity.

“Although attractive with its pretty purple flowers, Himalayan balsam is not native to Ireland and can quickly swamp large areas if left unchecked. It seeds profusely during the summer and the only way to restrict new growth next year is to remove it before it sets seed.

He added: “Eradication means pulling the plant out by hand which is relatively easy but, requires lots of help to make a real impact.”

Volunteers are advised to wear suitable clothing, sturdy footwear and bring a packed lunch.

To register your interest, contact Ulster Wildlife on 028 4483 0282.

Ulster Wildlife manages 19 nature reserves across Northern Ireland to help nature thrive. If you’d like to lend your support as a volunteer, visit www.ulsterwildlife.org/volunteer

Coming soon: The Mid Ulster Mail will be looking at the spread of another invasive species - the Giant Hogweed which is thriving here.

 

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