Call for Doncaster volunteers to help fight plant invasion

The River Don Navigation at Pastures Bridge.  Picture: Liz Mockler S1520LM
The River Don Navigation at Pastures Bridge. Picture: Liz Mockler S1520LM

A call has gone out across South Yorkshire for volunteers to help stop local rivers being invaded by plants.

Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum, headed by local conservation charity Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is calling on help from people to stop the spread of invasive plant species along the Rivers Don, Dearne and Rother.

Jon Dunster, Project Officer for Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum, said: “Invasive plants are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity today as they outcompete our native species and cause riverbank erosion which can contribute to flooding risk.

“In addition to this they can clog-up waterways which can affect river-users such as canoeists and anglers.

“It has been proven that controlling their numbers is effective, so long as it is carried out as part of a river catchment wide coordinated programme. But to achieve a coordinated control programme and make a difference to invasive plant populations the Trust needs the help of volunteers – there are just too many to go it alone!”

Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum is looking for volunteers to join their ‘Plant Tracker’ team.

These volunteers will carry out occasional visits to certain spots within their river catchment to look for key plant species.

In the Don Catchment five plants in particular are causing problems: floating pennywort, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and New Zealand pygmyweed.

Those with no prior knowledge of these plants needn’t be worried though: support will be provided in plant identification and new volunteers will be taught how to log their findings.

To find out more about the invasive species project run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the plant species causing problems in Yorkshire visit

To enquire about volunteering on the project email or