EFFORTS to control an infestation of Giant Hogweed along the River Bride in East Cork have commenced under Cork County Council.
The invasive and toxic plant which can grow up to 5 metres tall is a particular problem from Castlelyons to Tallow, where the river enters Waterford. The sap can cause a nasty irritation when it comes into contact with human skin. It can eliminate the skin’s ability to protect itself from sunlight which means that significant blistering can occur when the affected area is exposed to the sun.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins said: “The Giant Hogweed thrives in moist, rich soil like riverbanks, growing to huge heights, affecting our native plants and causing erosion. However, it’s the effect that it has on humans that is most concerning. I would like to commend the Bride Valley Invasive Species Project for their work, and I am hopeful that with the help of local landowners that they will be able to eradicate this toxic plant from the River Bride,” he added.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added: “All landowners in the area are fully on board with the project. We are initially focusing on a 5km area however funding has been secured through the National Biodiversity Action Plan for a further three years which will allow us to complete initial spray on all land within five metres of the river from Castlelyons to the county boundary.
“We know a follow up programme will need to be carried out by landowners for a number of years depending on the severity of the infestation on their land,” he added.
Cork County Council has been working with the BRIDE Farming with Nature team since 2019 to survey, map and address the issue of invasive plants.
They formed the Bride Valley Invasive Species Project and have completed the survey and mapping phase. The project is now targeting a 5km stretch of the river from Castlelyons to the Metal Bridge at Ballyrobert.
The programme involves spraying the Giant Hogweed early in the season when plants are small, and the least amount of spray is needed.
Enviroco, is working on the project on behalf of Cork County Council and is actively communicating with all landowners in the control programme area.