Volunteers wanted for canal clean-up

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch supports Pull, Snap, Stomp campaign.

Inland Waterways Association is launching its Pull Snap Stomp campaign, which aims to stamp out the spread of Himalayan balsam along river and canal banks.

Local IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch is seeking volunteers both young and old to help remove the plants from towpaths before it has a chance to go to seed and spread its stranglehold even further. Volunteers are being asked to take just five minutes out of their walk to PULL up the stems, SNAP off the root and STOMP down on it to speed up the rotting process.

You can join the local IWA Birmingham Branch on Tuesday 6th August at Falling Sands Lock at 10am–2pm to help stop the spread of this plant. They will meet at Lyle Avenue, Kidderminster, DY11 7DE – walk under the railway bridge, down to the canal and turn right along the towpath. Contact Bob Fox if you are intending to come along at bob.fox@waterways.org.uk

Volunteers are advised to wear sturdy boots or shoes, and clothing suitable for the weather conditions and bring a bottle of water; work gloves will be provided.

Himalayan balsam is a non-native, invasive plant species that can be found along the banks of the UK’s waterways. It grows so quickly that it crowds out native wildflowers and takes over large swathes of ground. Growing up to three metres in height, it makes an impressive sight with its reddish stems and pink-purple flowers, but the plant has no root stock, so once it dies back, the ground is susceptible to erosion, especially during the wet winter months.

Himalayan balsam stems are easy to pull out and leave the ground with a very pleasing ‘pop’ which makes it a fun family activity. More information on this non-native, invasive species can also be found on the IWA website.