Destruction of reservoirs’ wild flowers is act of butchery

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Open Letter to the Chairman of the Isle of Man Water Authority.

THE latest act of butchery carried out by your authority around the banks of Clypse and Kerrowdhoo reservoirs has infuriated me, and many others I have spoken to.

Hundreds of wild orchids have been scythed down, along with many other species of wild flowers; rest harrow, yellow rattle, germander speedwell and dog voilet are among those species which have fallen foul of your destructive management programme.

For as long as I can remember the bank leading down from Clypse to Kerrowdhoo reservoir was covered in swathes of harebells in late August and through September but, since your disastrous programme of bankside maintenance was introduced some years ago, these beautiful, delicate flowers have disappeared; they were cut down one year while in full flower and have since failed to re-establish themselves. Bluebells are, or were, also abundant on this bank, but I have witnessed them being cut down while still in full flower.

It’s not only the reservoir banks that come in for this sort of treatment; the verges along either side of the lane leading from the car park to the gateway entrance to the reservoirs has also been subjected to this destruction, with plants like dog violet, primrose, celandine and wild strawberry amongst others being strimmed down while still flowering.

It beggars belief! Why does your authority feel the need to carry out such unnecessary destruction?

I believe that European regulations demand that pathways around reservoirs are cut regularly, but why do you feel the need to cut everywhere else. At the present time both Clypse and Kerrowdhoo reservoirs resemble green deserts with hardly a plant or a shrub left standing.

I am by no means an expert on wild flowers, but even I have identified around 40 to 50 species growing around these two reservoirs over the past 15 years or so. Sadly some, like the harebell, are destined to remain extinct but, if you took the trouble to implement a sympathetic and balanced cutting regime many would re-establish themselves, and we would not be left to walk around in a green desert.

In another act of vandalism, it would appear that weed killer has be sprayed along the bottom of the wall running along the west bank of Clypse reservoir; the grass that used to grow there has turned yellow and died off.

I am not apportioning blame to the workmen who carry out your maintenance programme if they are merely carrying out their instructions, but someone has to be responsible for this wanton act of destruction to the flora, because ultimately it will have a knock-on effect on the insect and bird life around the area.

One cut of the grass in early spring ie., late March, followed by a further cut in late September when all the wildflowers will have set seed, is all that is necessary for the maintenance of the banks of the reservoirs while a five-foot wide strip for walkers, etc., could be cut as often as necessary to comply with European regulations.

Please introduce a sound and environmentally friendly programme for the maintenance of these areas before we lose all our beautiful wildflowers, and ultimately our insects and birds.

J.H. JONES,

Onchan.

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