Invasive non-native plants in the Medway catchment
Funded by the Environment Agency, Maidstone Borough Council, Yalding Parish Council, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and with landowner contributions, we are working to control and raise awareness of invasive non-native plant species across the Medway catchment. Concentrating mainly on riverbank plant species, via liaising with hundreds of landowners, we are controlling species on the main river Medway as well as it’s tributaries the Teise, Lesser Teise and Beult plus some smaller side streams too.
Invasive non-native species can reduce habitat availability for native species, reduce biodiversity, cause riverbank erosion, increased siltation and flood risk, cause physical harm and damage infrastructure and recreation.
We are currently controlling giant hogweed, floating pennywort, water fern, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam with a variety of methods.
Working with CABI via funding from RAPID LIFE we are using a biocontrol method for water fern and assisting CABI with other biocontrol trials for Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam. Whilst we currently control other species chemically, we continue to search for more organic methods which are suitable on a catchment wide scale.
If you are a landowner with Japanese knotweed which is not controlled as part of this scheme, please contact us to discuss a private treatment plan.
Volunteering, Education and Awareness
From 2016 to 2019, with Heritage Lottery funding, we delivered the Past Plants, Future Flora project, the educational and habitat restoration arm of our invasive non-native species work. Via this project we highlighted the importance of plant life and celebrated botanical discovery. We also highlighted that it’s not about nativeness, it’s about invasiveness, and thus highlighted that many non-native species are perfectly safe and support our native diversity. Instead the emphasis is on invasiveness and the damage which is caused by certain non-native species.
As a legacy of this project, we have a School Pack, full of useful information about native and non-native plant species, as well as our own children’s book about habitat management. Please contact MVCP to get a copy of this resources. You can also watch our You Tube video about the work which we did as part of Past Plants, Future Flora, and continue to do with our general invasive plant control work.
Working to support the Non-Native-Species Secretariat, we help to highlight their important biosecurity campaign, Check, Clean, Dry. If you work for a school, youth group or river user group such as a boating or angling club, we would be more than happy to discuss an educational session with you, so we can help improve plant identification as well as pass on this important information about biosecurity. Please contact us to discuss.
Local River Warden volunteers and landowners are actively involved in surveying, monitoring and habitat restoration – to protect our natural heritage into the future. Volunteers collect litter, report issues and help us monitor local habitats and green spaces for the benefit of all and we are providing opportunities for students and volunteers to undertake and gain experience of practical management and surveying of invasive flora.
All our invasive plant survey data is uploaded into INNSMAPPER.
If you are interesting in becoming a volunteer, in sharing your own invasive species data, or if you are a landowner with an invasive species project and currently not registered as part of our scheme, please do not hesitate to contact us.