Following the deluge of Friday 24 June 2011, which left rivers throughout the catchment in flood, the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers (MCV) took to the Bilboa on Saturday morning, 25 June, to embark on another conservation outing. The outing allowed MCV members to see at first hand the significant problem that Himalayan balsam has become as an invasive weed in the catchment.
MCV members manually remove Himalayan Balsam (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The outing focused on riparian management upstream from Bilboa Bridge on the Bilboa River. The field based practical conservation work undertaken by the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers included the manual removal of a large stretch of Himalayan balsam. The team of volunteers worked hard to ensure the site was cleared of all of the localised Himalayan balsam infestation on this important site. The area concerned is a High Nature Value (HNV) site in terms of its floristic diversity and is an important site for the variety of habitat for fish species, birds and mammals.
MCV members with balsam removed above Bilboa Bridge (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The outing also included a discussion on habitat creation, dipper breeding sites and general riparian management. Most interestingly an extremely informative discussion took place on the local history associated with Bilboa Bridge, the adjacent creamery and the general area.
At a second site (Blackboy Bridge), which was visited downstream, a discussion took place on the work of Mulkear Conservation Volunteer member, Ms. Catherine Daly, to investigate the impact of Himalayan balsam on native biodiversity. Monitoring sites were visited where Himalayan balsam is out-competing native vegetation along river banks. It was outlined that the monitoring work was being undertaken to see what effect Himalayan balsam is having on species richness in the riparian zone and to assess the effectiveness of manual clearance.
Assessing the riparian zone above Blackboy Bridge (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
A Big Thank You to all Mulkear Conservation Volunteers Members who gave of their time to support another highly successful practical conservation outing.
The next planned outing of the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers is on Saturday 23 July 2011. Full details to follow. An evening outing may take place between now and then – the details of which will be announced. The full schedule of this year’s programme of outings is available on this website under the ‘Reports and Resources’ section. The Mulkear Conservation Volunteers is open to all and membership is entirely free.
MCV members in discussion above Bilboa Bridge (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)