Scottish Solway INNS Control and Knowledge Programme

Over the years, various plants from around the world have been introduced to Scotland; either as a curiosity for populating botanical gardens or accidentally when importing goods. Most of these plants do not survive well in Scotland, but unfortunately a few do colonise and become invasive, then known as Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS). INNS are not restricted to plant species and are classified as plant, animal or fungus.

In areas where INNS colonise, negative impacts range from damaged ecosystems, reduced biodiversity, disruption to human activities, risk to human health and negative economic impacts.

Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) has been treating INNS along the riverbanks throughout Dumfries and Galloway with the help of various funders for a number of years. Key target species have been Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), Himalayan balsam (Impatients glandulifera) and American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus).

With the support of the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot, GFT has delivered ‘Scottish Solway INNS Control and Knowledge Programme (Phase 1)’; an ambitious programme set to protect the natural heritage in Dumfries and Galloway from the spread of INNS.  This project started in 2022 and was supported by a full time Project Officer. This was a two year pilot study and framed the basis for the phase 2 work programme.

GFT has been awarded funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Kilgallioch Wind Farm Community Fund administrated by Foundation Scotland.  This funding runs from June 2024 to May 2027.

As in Phase 1, Phase 2 will work closely with stakeholders and local communities to deliver a co-ordinated and prioritised long term INNS control programme across Dumfries and Galloway. Phase 2 has focused on seven river catchments controlling and managing the priority INNS, Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage. The project will continue implementing key actions in the Biosecurity Plan for the Kircudbrightshire Dee, helping to prevent the spread of signal crayfish and other aquatic INNS.  Phase 2 will work with schools and communities to increase their knwledge and skills in managing INNS in a strategic and effective manner. Funding has allowed Tracy (Project Officer from Phase 1) to be retained, contractor costs for controlling large areas of INNS and to employ three 6-monthly interns over the course of the project.   

This project covers INNS in identified priority areas along rivers and tributaries.  If you require assistance with controlling INNS in other areas locally then GFT may still be able to help but not under this specific project.   For these areas please email to discuss.

INNS control is one of the key drivers of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to help improve biodiversity, make habitats more resilient to climate change and clear areas for riparian tree planting, protecting rivers from ever-increasing temperatures.

Areas where Project Officer has started control and started implementating a strategic management plan are:

  • American Skunk Cabbage (ASC) surveying and control completed by the; Glassoch Burn, by the Grange Burn and on Torhouse Burn to protect River Bladnoch SAC for Atlantic Salmon; Aquavitae Burn - Kirkcudbright Dee; Glenwhan Gardens - Piltanton Burn catchment.
  • Japanese knotweed surveys and control on the Water of Tarf to protect River Bladnoch SAC
  • Surveys and control completed of Japanese knotweed on the Water of Luce and the Piltanton Burn.
  • Four biosecurity stations set up around Loch Ken. Station can be found at Galloway Activity Centre, Crossmicheal Marina, Loch Ken Holiday Park and public slipway Boat O’Rhone.
  • Giant hogweed surveys completed on the Border Esk. Project Officer mapped distribution for landowners to carry out control.
  • Water of Fleet surveys and control for American skunk cabbage, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam completed.
  • Lower Urr surveys and control for Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed completed.

Further details of some of these INNS control programmes are provided on Story Maps  below:

Japanese knotweed project on the Water of Fleet

Giant hogweed on the lower Urr

American skunk cabbage on the Bladnoch

Tracy (Project Officer) is keen to get help from interested volunteers. 

To get in touch with her to organise volunteer opportunities or to find out more about the project please email


Kilgallioch Community Fund logo
Foundation Scotland logo
Heritage Fund logo


5 Year Biosecurity Management Plan
GFT produced a 5 years management plan for the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee for 2020-2024 outlining the desired approach to tacking Non-Native Invasive Species.


Kilgallioch Community Fund logo
Kilgallioch Community Fund logo



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