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The Big Dee Day - the Invasion

Published: 17/06/2015

Organisations across North Wales and Cheshire are appealing for volunteers to help tackle invasive non-native species on the River Dee and its tributaries. Following two successful years of The Big Dee Day – The Invasion, the event is being repeated again this summer. The previous two years have seen up to 60 events and nearly 2,000 volunteer hours put towards tackling invasive non-native species like Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and Giant Hogweed. A coordinated programme of volunteer activities is taking place this month with various opportunities for people to get involved, from the river’s source in Snowdonia National Park right through to the Dee estuary, until August. The event is open to everyone across the region to help remove invasive non-native plants from the River Dee and its tributaries and to record infested areas. The species that will be tackled are alien species, brought to the UK either accidentally or intentionally, which can cause big problems for native wildlife, as well as having other effects, such as making river banks more prone to erosion and increasing the risk of flooding. A partnership of Welsh and English organisations including five local authority Countryside Services, Snowdonia National Park Authority, DINNS Project, Keep Wales Tidy, the Welsh Dee Trust, BASC, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB are involved in organising the event and it is funded by Natural Resources Wales. Councillor Bernie Attridge, Flintshire County Councils Cabinet Member for Environment said: “Big Dee Day - The Invasion is growing year on year and is proving to be a great opportunity for us to make a positive impact on the River Dee and our local environment. Our thanks go to all those volunteers who have helped out over the last two years, and I’d encourage anyone who is interested to get involved and go along to their nearest event and help out. In Flintshire, Flintshire County Council, NEWW Wildlife and North Wales Wildlife Trust will be teaming up and leading volunteers on the River Alyn on Tuesday 23 June, Thursday 25 June, Thursday 2 July and Thursday 16 July.” Meryl Norris, Dee Invasive Non-Native Species Project Officer said: “The volunteer effort from the previous two years has made the event a real success. The various ‘balsam bashes’ taking part across the catchment are a great way to get out to some beautiful riverside locations and help tackle an important issue for conservation. If you or your group would like to get stuck in with balsam bashing or knotweed whacking, or if you fancy spying on the alien invaders and recording their locations contact your local contact below for more information about events happening in your area or check out or Local contacts Cheshire Laura George 01948 820728 Snowdonia National Park Gethin Davies 01766 772255 Denbighshire/Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB Rhun Jones 01978 869618 Flintshire Lawrence Gotts 01352 703263 Wrexham Liz Carding 01978 292000 DINNS Project Meryl Norris 07880 197942 Notes to editors: You are invited to send a reporter and photographer to Rhug Farm in Corwen (LL21 0EH) for the official launch of Big Dee Day – the Invasion at 1 pm on Friday 26 June with staff, dignitaries and volunteers. Contact 078 80197942 for more information. Image Meryl Norris (Dee INNS Project Officer, NWWT) demonstrating the stem injection treatment to control Japanese Knotweed at Ty Mawr Country Park in Wrexham during last years Big Dee Day - The Invasion. About the Big Dee Day The Invasion The Big Dee Day The Invasion is a sister event to the Big Dee Day Clean Up event that has been held since 2008. The Invasion event began in 2013, when it was held over two days (28th & 29th June) and saw 17 events being held throughout the catchment. These events predominantly consisted of Balsam Bashing events – controlling the invasive plant Himalayan balsam. 2014 saw the event expand over the month of July with 40 events putting in up to 1680 volunteer hours. The Big Dee Day The Invasion Steering group consists of the following organisations – Denbighshire CC, Flintshire CC, Wrexham CBC, Snowdonia National Park Authority, DINNS Project, Keep Wales Tidy, the Welsh Dee Trust, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, BASC and Natural Resources Wales. Dee Invasive Non-Native Project The Dee Invasive Non-Native Species Project is a cross border catchment wide partnership project which aims to control invasive non-native species throughout the Dee catchment in England and Wales in a co-ordinated and holistic way. The project was initiated in 2012 following a workshop delivered by the Welsh Dee Trust. Following the setting up of the project steering group a strategic action plan was produced in 2013. The project works closely with organisations and volunteer groups to ensure they have the resources and knowledge to effectively control invasive non-native species and to also enable them to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and biosecurity. DINNS Project officer: Meryl Norris 078 80197942. Invasive non-native species Invasive non-native species are species or animal or plant that have been brought to the UK from other countries and are having a negative impact on our environment, economy and well-being. These species cost the UK economy more that £1.7 billion pounds per year and are the second biggest threat to biodiversity globally. Species such as Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed increase erosion and impact on flooding; Giant hogweed contain sap which causes severe burns to skin upon contact; American mink have caused a sharp decline in our native Water vole populations leading to local extinctions; American Signal Crayfish carry Crayfish plague which kills our native White Clawed Crayfish and has led to dramatic declines in their population in the UK.