Affinity Water has awarded £770 to Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust as part of its Community Engagement Programme.
The grant will be used to support a project encouraging local landowners to replace invasive bankside vegetation, including Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed, with native species.
Work to remove these invasive plants has begun, focused on the section of the Beane at Watton-at-Stone. However, plants such as Himalayan balsam are valued by local residents for their visual attractiveness and for the nectar-rich flowers which provide food for bees and other insects. The aims of the project are to provide alternative, native bankside plants which are not only attractive but also far more valuable for biodiversity.
The money will support the first stage of the project: a demonstration area on the Lammas at Watton-at-Stone. Specifically, it will cover the cost of replanting a section of bank with appropriate native riparian vegetation. Interpretation will provide a description of the rationale behind the project, the species used and potential sources of the plants for local landowners.
The proposed second stage of the project involves potential link-ups with local garden centres and nurseries, and a low-cost or no-cost source of starter plants established. The emphasis will be on community involvement at all stages of the project.