IWAI continue work on hogweed eradication along canal and river‏

Declan McAteer Posted by
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Weed-killing at lock 3. Peter Maxwell, Maurice Mulgrew and Andrew Carlin form part of the IWAI Newry & Portadown branch's team of volunteers involved in hogweed eradication along the canal and river.

IWAI Newry & Portadown branch volunteers, in partnership with Queen’s University, have begun this year’s programme of giant hogweed eradication along the canal and river. “The non-native giant hogweed completely takes over an area and no other plants can grow there.” said Maurice Turley, QUB, who is leading the team of sprayers. “The giant hogweed has toxic sap which can cause painful blistering on skin that comes in contact with it, which makes it particularly harmful for children who might be playing along the towpath in springtime,” he said.

The 3 year programme is sponsored by INTERREG IVA and facilitated by Queen’s University school of biological sciences. Peter Maxwell, chairman of Newry & Portadown branch IWAI said: “the spraying begins in spring when the new hogweed shoots start to appear. Our well-established programme of winter workparties along the canal comes to an end in spring when birds are nesting. Being involved in this eradication programme means that our members can continue to work on the canal throughout the summer.” Branch member Andrew Carlin said: “it is very satisfying to work on a project that is helping to protect and promote the growth of our native species.” IWAI volunteers will be involved in the eradication programme right along the canal over the life of the project.

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