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The River Don Trust--Newsletters

Started by machar, November 26, 2010, 09:47:35 AM

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Actually the requirements are not too onerous and there are a few get-outs.

Under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (COPR),
operators must have had relevant training and be competent for
the duties they are to perform. Operators born after 31 December
1964 or who will be spraying as a commercial service must hold
the appropriate Certificate of Competence (see Table 1) issued by
the National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) or Scottish Skills
Testing Service (SSTS), unless they will be under the direct and
personal supervision of a person who holds such a certificate. If
born before 31 December 1964 and working on their own or their
employer's land, operators still need to be able to demonstrate
competence and show proof of appropriate training.

More info here.

It also looks like anyone born before 31 December 1964 is less formally regulated for some reason.


Quote from: Jamie on June 28, 2012, 11:32:42 AM
Fred thanks for your suggestion of cutting the umbels off, whilst a potential technique is not one that the Trust i think could condone nor get volunteer to carry out safely, certainly not in the dense stands you've mentioned around Kildrummy. However it is a method which I will look into along with the disposal of this contaminated waste.

Jamie, you are right to be cautious the phototoxins in hogweed sap are not nice, but do  you really have to remove the plants you cut down? This seems a bit odd as the material  will  be there and be at least as much of a hazard  if you don't cut it down and will also set seed. Removing cut off material from the site will add enormously to the workload.

You can contact me here by PM if you require assistance and let me know what your plans are.  I am out of action right now with a broken hand, but would be willing  to give some time when able once more.


Last year on the North Esk the contractors had the same problem with the weather they ended up cutting the hogweed and  left the stems. We have found the best time to spray knotweed is September.


The most effective time to spray giant hogweed is April / May and most certainly before it flowers and sets seed. It's also far easier to see the smaller plants before the rank vegetation that defines much of the banks gets too high, so there is less likelihood of missing them.  It's also easier to spot the many physical  hazards – holes, dumped rocks from fields, old barbed wire  etc that are there. Its just easier and all round more efficient to work the banks in springtime.

The boat has probably been missed again this year, due to weather or whatever,  so chopping off the inflorescences might make more sense than spraying expensive herbicides until next spring.

Common sense dictates you start at the source of the problem and work downstream.  Seeds will not float upstream. There is little point spraying the plants at Kildrummy if there are untouched plants further upstream.

I don't know if a proper detailed survey has been carried out on The Don, but it would seem likely that the original  infestation started at some of the "big houses" , possibly such as  Candacraig that had big and  famous gardens. Anyway I'd expect there would be some kind of survey / plan, somewhere and it would be interesting to see it and know the strategy.

Here is some info from Ireland. Some of the photos of injuries are horrific. This is nasty stuff. Lots of good control information there too. Mr Google will find you lots of it.


This might be useful too.

I also came across a paper that states it is found from sea level up to 213 metres on the Don, that was dated 1996.
Don't worry, be happy.
Carried it in full, then carry it out empty.

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Quote from: fishtales on June 28, 2012, 11:01:25 PM
I also came across a paper that states it is found from sea level up to 213 metres on the Don, that was dated 1996.

I first saw giant hogweed on the Don in the 1980s, both at Persley and below Strathdon.

It's had a while to get a grip. 

The Don seems to have some real problems that might not be easy to put right.

Issues like abuse of the PO resulting in difficult, expensive  or practically impossible access helps to keep these things below the radar. Who sees them?  Why would anglers who do not feel welcome or are blatantly excluded give their  money or time to help tackle these matters and others?  This is the real world we live in.  What is the RDBTIA doing to tackle these impediments and to make the river more inclusive?    I heard the other day that if you wish to fish at Kildrummy you have to get a permit from the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen. Really, what the hell use is that to a visitor in Strathdon even if they have the information, which of course they won't.  No wonder hardly anyone is fishing there. The average angler cannot  see the hogweed for the hurdles.

These  issues cannot be separated, take a holistic approach and sort them all out, get ordinary anglers on-side, make them feel they have something to gain from spending their money and giving their time.  If that can't be done then I do not envy the task of the very well-meaning River Don Trust, frankly it looks impossible unless there is a root and branch change in attitude from some landowners and others  that will make many more ordinary anglers feel they have a stake in what happens on this river.  I of course would exclude the ADAA from any criticism, they do a great job.


Just in case there is anyone reading who is vaguely interested and has not got a grasp on the scale of this problem, this is what it actually looks like out there in the real world in Strathdon.

Here are some photos taken this afternoon on a short stretch at the foot of the Kildrummy water. Each of  these plants will shortly produce and shed  an least 10,000 seeds each. Upstream of here and downstream, all the way to the bridge of Alford, flowering  hogweed, from singles  to groups of plants, are visible from the main road without even getting out of your car. You only need one plant to set seed, they are hermaphrodite, no cross pollination  required. 

Perhaps some head lopping should be considered sooner rather  than later. Looking at the scale of this it  is a job for professionals, not volunteers. I certainly would not go near that lot anyway. It would be nuts.

When Gus looked  after this beat (up until a  few years ago)  there were always some plants but he did his best to deal with them. Anglers like us  used to tell him about hazards we came across  and he dealt with them. There was NOTHING like this, I used to walk down through there, but then there are no, or precious few,  anglers there anymore!     What a disgrace. 











Sad to see that amount of hogweed, too late to spray that lot cutting would be the only answer. The Trust could just leave it until next season and have twice as much.


The area in those photos  is tiny and there must be 1000s of plant in it. The photos were taken along the stretch indicated by the red line on this map.   


I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. The deterioration  in just the  few years since Gus departed is astonishing. The man is a massive loss to that part of the river.  The going is very rough there, hard to access  and the hogweed has made parts of it impenetrable and dangerous.  It is everywhere up the beat if not always in those numbers.

I'm very sorry if this is standing on anyone's toes, but in my view this is so serious it overrides other considerations, the extent  of it should be known and something has to be done  about it.

If this lot is allowed to seed goodness knows  what things will be like in a year or two. Giant Hogweed is a monocarpic perennial, it seeds once and dies. Mononcarpic plants tend to produce masses of seeds as a survival strategy. All the plant's energies go into seed production. Without going down there and looking I'd suggest there are probably 1000s of young plants growing there that will flower in the next year or so after that lot dies off.

At least if these umbles of flowers could be removed the adult plants may  die off anyway, (but they may not if seed is not set). At least this would prevent 100,000s of seed being spread down the system. Spraying these mature plants is pointless now, they are not so vulnerable at that stage will just "panic" and set seed anyway. They are programmed to survive. Cutting hogweed on this scale is dangerous work that really should be done by professionals.


Lots of it down the Haughton beat this morning, but no flowering plants on the council's bank, loads of 1 year plants though. I think  the council do make an attempt to contain it with their limited resources, but as I have not fished there for years I can't say for sure. The out-of-bounds private syndicated water on the other bank is a different story.


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