Invasive Alien Plants

Invasive plants on our riverbanks is a cause for much concern among groups across Inishowen. The Inishowen Rivers Trust welcomes records from the public of 6 key invasive plant species growing along our riverbanks, road verges and spreading rapidly across fields. These plants are considered invasive and they can create significant challenges for our native biodiversity. The IRT aims to map the distribution of these species across Inishowen and particularly those found on riverbanks where they can cause bank erosion.

Japanese Knotweed

Himalayan Balsam

Giant Hogweed

Winter Heliotrope

Rhododendron (ponticum)

Cherry Laurel

If you wish to get involved in recording Invasive Alien Plants (IAS) in Inishowen you can fill in our online surveys. Keep it handy on your smart phone and whenever you spot one of these species you can submit it to us by filling out this simple form.

You can also scan the QR Code to open the survey form directly.

As the Trust gathers more information we will publish distribution maps of these species through this website.

Identifying Invasives

If you unsure how to identify the 6 invasive species listed above, you can find many good resources online. The Non Native Species Secretariat provides excellent identification and information guides on four of the species:

Information on the other two species can be viewed on Biodiversity Ireland:

For more information on the impact of IAS you can download a presentation given by Mark Horton, the All Ireland Director of River Trusts at an event held in Colgan Hall, Carndonagh in September 2016. This will provide more information on how to identify each of the species.

Presentation by Mark Horton (Identification of Invasive Alien Plants on Inishowen).PDF

Balsam Bashing

Himalayan Balsam has become increasingly common along Inishowen Rivers and spreads very rapidly if left unchecked. It is an annual plant which grows rapidly, out-competing native plants and in the winter, when it dies back, it leaves banks bare and at risk of erosion.

Himalayan Balsam can be easily uprooted by hand pulling and this can be an effective control method if carried out consistently by teams of volunteers. This is know as Balsam Bashing. On the Bredagh River in Moville, members of the IRT and conservation groups from the Loughs Agency (Foyle Ambassadors) successfully removed large quantities of Himalayan Balsam between 2016 and 2018. In August 2018 the Trust ran a balsam bashing event on the Culdaff River in an area with a heavy infestation of Himalayan Balsam. Further events will be run to raise awareness of the challenges IAS bring to our landscapes and how to effectively manage and control such species. If you would like to get involved in this type of monitoring or have a problem with balsam in your area please Contact Us. The Trust may be able to provide volunteers to help you tackle invasive issues on your land or provide advice.

To support our work on IAS, the IRT has received funding from: LA21 Environmental Partnership Fund; Dept of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the EU LEADER Programme. Several members of the Trust were trained on stem injection for Japanese Knotweed through the Inishowen River Guardians Programme in 2019.