Reclaiming the River Chelt

Before picture shows green leafy Himalayan balsam growning over the banks of a stream. After picture shows the banks cleared and large piles of the plant after cutting.

We are working with volunteers to remove Himalayan balsam, a non-native, invasive plant species, taking over the River Chelt.

Himalayan Balsam is a threat to river health and biodiversity. It outcompetes native plant species for resources such as sunlight, space and nutrients. The balsam has very sugary nectar which tempts bees and other pollinators away from native plants. The native plants are then less likely to be pollinated and so produce less seed.

Himalayan Balsam dies in winter and leaves river banks bare and vulnerable to erosion. This can reduce water quality, cause sediment to collect in fish spawning areas and can lead to an increased flood risk.

You can help

We are organising ‘balsam bashing’ volunteer days in public parks to help control Himalayan Balsam in the River Chelt and improve the health and biodiversity of the river. If you're interested in becoming a volunteer and being part of the action, please contact [email protected].

If the River Chelt runs through your garden, you are a riparian owner of the Chelt. This means that you have responsibilities to maintain and care for the section of river which runs through your land. We strongly advise that you look out for Himalayan Balsam on your land and remove any you find.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust have produced a video giving lots of information about the plant and how to remove it. The trust are also giving training and guidance to help control the spread.

If you spot Himalayan Balsam in public spaces, please report your sightings to [email protected].