Catchment News

Friends of Rossmore Forest Park bash some Himalayan balsam

Bernie O’Hanrahan tells us how the Friends of Rossmore Park in Monaghan are learning how to manage the invasive species in their park, and are working together to identify, remove and manage these species.

The historic Rossmore Forest Park is located just 3 kilometres south of Monaghan town. The park has 6 looped walks among forests and lakes in a drumlin landscape. Recent upgrades include a playground and picnic area, a joint initiative from Coillte & Monaghan County Council. The park is very popular with runners, walkers and families and is home to the Monaghan Park Run, the Haunting of Rossmore Park Halloween event, and various other events from 10k runs to marathons.

Rossmore Forest Park and waterbodies from

Unfortunately, the park has a problem with invasive species including Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and Rhododendron. In recent years the spread of the Himalayan balsam has been observed along pathways and the park streams. The streams form part of the headwaters of the Ulster Blackwater. Concerns regarding Himalayan balsam and bank erosion have also been identified in the cross-border Ulster Blackwater river.

Before: Volunteers commence work on large stand of Himalayan Balsam.

According to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, threats from Himalayan balsam, Impatiens glandulifera, include competition with native plants & collapsing of river banks. To stem the spread and remove new stands of the Balsam, a call went out through the Friends of Rossmore Facebook page, inviting volunteers to participate in some Himalayan balsam ‘bashing’ on Saturday mornings. It is relatively easy to remove by pulling the entire plant. Dermot McNally of Transition Monaghan also carried the story of Himalayan balsam in the Sustainability Matters column of the Northern Standard.

After: Job done.

There is a steady increase in volunteers learning to recognise the plant, to pull the entire plant and to pile in situ. Some great work has been done and park users are adopting parts of the park to look after. We have learned that repeat visits to treated areas are needed to get the best results. So, it’s map, remove, monitor and follow up with some aftercare. Susan and her team of volunteers from the National Learning Network have adopted the Nature Trail as part of their Community Project for the summer months. The ambition of this park users volunteer group for 2019, is to limit the spread, control the lighter growths and reduce the larger stands of Himalayan balsam. The first flowers only appeared in week 3 of June, so that gave a good head start in 2019 ahead of flowering and seed production this summer. Thanks to all the volunteers to date.

Bernie O’Hanrahan, Friends of Rossmore Park

Learn more:

First flower noted 18 June.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

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Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

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Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.