The Project arose from the Tweed Catchment Management Plan process, with many stakeholders identifying the continuing spread of Giant Hogweed as a key issue of concern. In response to this, an invasives conference and extensive stakeholder consultation was undertaken to assess what action, if any, would be appropriate and feasible. The consultation established what issues prevented landowners from controlling Giant Hogweed and solutions to address these.
A key element in the early years of the Project was the appointing of “River Champions” – local farmers, landowners or fishermen, involved themselves in the control process, who could take on and oversee a section of river. The role of River Champion was one of monitoring the invasive species on their stretch and persuading reluctant participants to carry out their share of the control work, therefore it was vital that the River Champion was diplomatic and prepared to lead by example. Ensuring that project partners had access to training and equipment was also key to enlisting local support. Following on from this, the Tweed Invasives Project was launched with the control of Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed at its heart. Two years later, control of Himalayan Balsam on the Till subcatchment began as a means of trialling various control methods before rolling out to the wider catchment. A full outline of the project’s inception and early years is available here.