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Raising awareness of invasive plants among the younger generation

On 17 June 2024, primary school pupils enthusiastically uprooted invasive plants that threatened the stability of the banks along the Trient watercourse in the municipality of Salvan (canton of Valais). Xavière Schröder, Environmental Project Manager at Alpiq, organised this action to raise awareness among the younger generation of the importance of preserving local biodiversity and playing an active part in protecting the environment.

Accompanied by Olivier Duckert, a biologist from the Grenat nature bureau, the 17 pupils from Salvan primary school began by learning about local invasive plants and the dangers they pose to biodiversity. Then, on the banks of the Trient stream, the children rolled up their sleeves to pull out these invasive plants. Very involved, they were impressed by the resistance of the roots of "Japanese knotweed", an invasive plant that is very difficult to uproot, even with a pickaxe. They were also surprised to see that it can grow back from very little. To their recurring question, "Will the plant I've just pulled up be there again next year?", the biologist could only reply, "Yes, but with less force, and in time we'll manage to eradicate it". The result of the action was very satisfactory: the two targeted areas were treated after just a few hours of hard work. All that remains is to repeat the initiative!

Cohabitation between renewable energy production and biodiversity

The collaboration with Salvan primary school, initiated in 2023, aims to raise awareness among young pupils of the importance of preserving local biodiversity and playing an active part in protecting the environment. Already invited to the inauguration of the Nant de Drance power plant in September 2022, these children have discovered the two facets of the project: the production of renewable energy and the corresponding environmental compensation measures.

Environmental compensation measures
This initiative is part of one of the 14 environmental compensation measures defined as part of the construction of the Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant. It involves managing invasive plants along the banks of the Trient and Eau Noire rivers (the Swiss part of the Franco-Swiss torrent).

Two invasive plants 
Invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed and Narrow-leaved ragwort threaten our local flora by taking the place of native species. Japanese knotweed, which is particularly invasive, destabilises riverbanks, while Narrow-leaved ragwort, which is toxic, also poses risks to livestock and agriculture.