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Volunteers use Berry Burn community funding to help pay for ongoing invasive plant species removal at Sanquhar pond, Forres


By Garry McCartney

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Donald Anderson, Tom Taylor, Alasdair Walker, Brian McDonald, John Watson,Mike MacDonald and George Paul are some of the volunteers.
Donald Anderson, Tom Taylor, Alasdair Walker, Brian McDonald, John Watson,Mike MacDonald and George Paul are some of the volunteers.

VOLUNTEERS enhancing a local beauty spot have been awarded nearly £3000 towards removing non-native invasive plant species.

Sanquhar Dam Renovation Group spokesman, Brian McDonald, confirmed £2800 from the Berry Burn Community Fund has been invested in shredding and mulching Rhododendron and Laurel around the pond.

He said: “We are grateful for the support in our efforts to return to a more sustainable and natural environment. Our socially distanced volunteers have been felling the plants since last March. The cuttings took five days of chipping with three operatives feeding the shredder. Our own volunteers assisted by pulling cuttings closer to the machine.”

Shredding invasive plant species including Rhododendron.
Shredding invasive plant species including Rhododendron.

Rhododendron and Laurel inhibit the growth of native trees and shrubs.

Brian said: “The absence of birds’ nests was an indication of that. We plan to plant native trees, shrubs and plants as time and finances allow.”

John Watson and George Paul with Jess the dog.
John Watson and George Paul with Jess the dog.

The volunteers recently made and installed bird boxes around the site. Other recent work has included path maintenance and leaf clearance.

“We are in pursuit of continuous improvement,” said Brian. “Our work has revealed several fallen trees that would be suitable for firewood. All proceeds from sales will be used to maintain the pond area.”

Donald Anderson.
Donald Anderson.

Over the next few months the volunteers are planning combatting the effects of flooding which has increased erosion of the river banks and the incidence of siltation caused by recent spates.

The group meets on Saturday mornings at 8am and usually works until 1pm. Anyone wishing to help, or to enquire about firewood, should email Brian at bmcd@keme.co.uk.

Sanquhar’s walks with information posts are attracting more visitors every year.

Brian said: “Recent observations suggest that visits to the pond now exceed 100,000-a-year!”

The island at Sanquhar Pond is being opened up by clearance.
The island at Sanquhar Pond is being opened up by clearance.

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