Come on an Outfall Safari and help us raise awareness about river pollution!
It is five years since we ran our first Outfall Safari along the Ravensbourne river catchment and it’s time to run another health check on our rivers. This is an opportunity for volunteers from Keston to Deptford, from Eltham to Sydenham, to join us and help identify pollution hotspots and raise public awareness around drainage misconnections that can harm our rivers.
The waterways of the Ravensbourne, Quaggy and Pool join the Thames at Deptford and, like all London’s rivers, they can be polluted by chemicals found in detergents, building material, paint etc and by sewage due to misconnected plumbing. Pipes that lead into surface water drains, rather than into sewers, bring these pollutants into our rivers and impact the species that live in them.
While Thames Water and the Environment Agency monitor the river catchment and respond to pollution incidents, it is very hard to create a detailed map of all the troublesome outfalls that have, so far, remained under the radar. An Outfall Safari is the answer.
Designed to be undertaken by local volunteers, an Outfall Safari requires no expertise beyond simple data collection, which is covered by our bespoke training in March, and keenness to take walks alongside our rivers.
This is a short-term commitment: it will be run over a period of around one month (April 2022) and relies on lots of small teams of volunteers each doing as much or as little as they want. One team member will record the observations of the group using a simple mobile App, and the uploaded data collected by all the teams will create a detailed picture of the current state of the catchment.
Outfall Safari training will be on Wednesday, March 30th from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Althletics Hub meeting room in Sutcliffe Park Sports Centre, London SE7 5LW. Our trainer is Phoebe Shaw Stewart of the Zoological Society of London. Poster attached – training is of course free.
An Outfall Safari gathers valuable information. Data from the App is mapped and passed on the Environment Agency and Thames Water. And any severe pollution revealed can be investigated immediately by these agencies. It is a proven method of checking on London’s rivers, already tested on the rivers Crane, Wandle, Hogsmill, Dollis Brook and many more. It relies fully on Citizen Scientists! Which could be you. Please contact us you’d like to take part.
London Rivers Week: Photo Competition #PictureBlueLondon
Thames 21 write...
The CPRE London photo competition returns for 2021, with cash prizes and tickets to top London attractions on offer to the photographer who best captures this year’s theme of ‘Picture Blue London’.
We are launching our annual photography competition in celebration of London Rivers Week which ran from 23-31 October 2021. CPRE London is delighted to be working with Thames21, the Environment Agency, ZSL London Zoo, the London Aquarium and others to celebrate London’s rivers and waterways.
Capture London’s waterscapes
Judges will be looking for uplifting images that capture the beauty and variety of the London’s waterscapes – whether that be landscape, wildlife, rivers, canals, a piece of history, places that heal or replenish or people enjoying London’s wet outdoor spaces. We challenge you to grab your camera or phone, explore the watery side of the capital and capture London’s countryside at its very best. We want to see it all!
This year we welcome your interpretation of three categories that represent the city’s key environmental challenges and opportunities: climate change, access to nature, and health and wellbeing. All entries should fall within one category and a winner will be chosen from each.
The photographs will be judged by an impressive line-up of key figures in London’s photography and environmental community including Shirley Rodrigues (Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Greater London Authority), Dave Webb (Environment Agency) and Peter Coles (professional photographer and urban ecologist).
All our winners and finalists will be showcased on our website, featured in the next edition of our Green London newsletter and on our social media channels.
Enter the competition
Competition entry is free, and entrants can enter up to three photographs, one in each category – climate change, access to nature, and health and wellbeing.
The winning entries will receive a cash prize of £100, free membership to CPRE London for a year and tickets to the London Aquarium, plus a cuddly toy! One overall winner will also receive a free family ticket to ZSL London Zoo.
Entries close on 26 November 2021. To enter please read the webpage and terms and conditions (PDF 138 KB).
London Rivers Week is a partnership campaign run through London Rivers Restoration Group, a sub-group of the Catchment Partnerships in London. It is sponsored by Thames Water.
London Rivers Week – Saturday 23 October – Sunday 31 October 2021
(with thanks to Thames 21 for the information)
London Rivers Week is a week-long annual campaign inspiring the public to celebrate London’s rivers and the projects taking place to rewild and renaturalise them and connecting them with their local communities.
The campaign was launched by the London Rivers Restoration Group in 2016 on behalf of the Catchment Partnerships in London (CPiL) to highlight river restorations. Between 2008 and 2017 a total of 23.5km (14.6 miles) of rivers have been restored.
About the London Rivers Restoration Group
The purpose of the London Rivers Restoration Group, a sub-group of CPiL, is to promote and report on the delivery of river restoration and enhancement projects in support of the Catchment-based Approach to delivering Water Framework Directive objectives across London.
Its specific objective is to achieve the following aspirations set out in the London Rivers Action Plan (LRAP):
- Improve flood management using more natural processes
- Reduce the likely negative impacts of climate change
- Reconnect people to the natural environment through urban regeneration
- Gain better access for recreation and improved well-being
- Enhance habitats for wildlife
The London Rivers Restoration Group includes the Environment Agency, Thames21, the Greater London Authority, the South East Rivers Trust, London Wildlife Trust, ZSL, the Thames Estuary Partnership, CPRE London and Thames Water.
About the Catchment Partnerships in London (CPiL) Group
The purpose of CPiL is to support 12 different Catchment Partnerships within Greater London to share lessons, experiences, best practice and to help achieve a coordinated approach to delivering the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.
CPiL is not a Steering Group for the Catchment Partnerships; instead it supports and facilitates shared action, decision making and communication for the Catchment-based Approach in London.
Catchment Partnerships are groups of organisations working in different geographical locations to improve water quality.
London Rivers Week 2021
Thames 21 London Rivers Week events
Soothing Streams exhibition in London – autumn 2021
(Nora Bzheta, Release, 2021 ©Nora Bzheta. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Ling Zhang)
To coincide with the World Rivers Day, soothing streams this September responds to the Creek, one of the most biodiverse landscapes in London, which also acts as a bridge between urban dwellers, the history of the city and water. The show brings together artworks by a carefully curated number of emerging artists, who directly and indirectly navigate the physical and psychical energies of the element and embrace its connecting properties.
The Art Hub Gallery becomes a meditative portal enabling a soothing reconnection with the nearby water.
Whilst anchored in the local context of Deptford, the show simultaneously speaks to contemporary concerns of climate justice, migration, and shorelines, and enables neglected stories of water pollution and urban rivers’ stewardship to resurface. Mediating a communion between art intervention and community celebration, the exhibition follows the weekend of World Rivers Day, and flows into a global reflection on our water relations.
– Alexia & Berta
Daily: 30 September – 3 October 12-6pm.
Performances: Wednesday 29 September at 7pm and Saturday 2 October at 4pm
Art Hub Studio, 5-9 Creekside, London SE8 4SA
Nora Bzheta: https://nbzheta.com/Contact
Miles Tuddenham: https://milestuddenham.com/
Bart Hajduk: https://www.barthajduk.com/about
Basile Huma: https://www.instagram.com/gesuskrazus/
Nikolai Azariah: https://nikolaiazariah.com/
Happy Christmas from Rivers and People
This has been a strange old year for all of us, but I am pleased that we have still manged to get so much work done. We hope that we will be back to some sort of normality in the Spring and will be able to start taking bigger groups out. Thank you to everyone that has joined us on one of our sessions in 2020 – our rivers and banksides are all the better for your work! We look forward to seeing you all in 2021!
The Tweed Invasives Project
For those of you who have spent time with me and other volunteer groups in activities such as The 3 Rivers Clean Up clearing himalayan balsam know what great fun it is. You may wonder, however if it is all worthwhile? Of course we know it is because in Lewisham we have seen a huge reduction in the amount of HB in the years that we have been running the 3 Rivers Clean Up and other similar sessions.
The Tweed Invasives Project has been tackling invasive plant species in and around the River Tweed and its tributaries since 2002, when Giant Hogweed was identified as one of the biggest threats to the River. Since then, they have added Japanese knotweed and Himalayan Balsam to their list of invasives. With all this fantastic experience, they have produced a ‘best practice’ manual, The Tweed Invasives Project: 18 Years of Catchment-wide Control, which gives a detailed guide to delivering a long-term, catchment-scale invasives control programme.
It is a fantastic document highlighting all the different ways in which you can control these species. For those of you that only want to read about Himalayan balsam, you will find this from p24 onwards.
Rivers and People sessions cancelled
Due to the most recent advice from the UK Government and from Lewisham Council, we have decided to cancel the Rivers and People volunteering sessions and until further notice. I appreciate that you may be disappointed by this news, but in light of the current advice this we feel this is the best course of action. I will of course update you as advice changes.
Please let anyone know that you see who may not see this message
We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Virtual Tour of Lewisham’s Rivers
There are a lot of wonderful volunteers out there who help keep our rivers clean, from the Friends of the River Pool to Nature’s Gym to Thames21. Part of the reason our rivers are so lovely, is down to this dedicated bunch of people. This is usually the time of year when we, along with a number of partners, would be great ready for the the 3 Rivers Clean Up. Unfortunately, with the way things are currently, we are not sure if this will be able to go ahead. This is a great shame because not only is it great fun, it is a lovely way to meet people and also get to see parts of the Borough you may not know about and experience from a new angle. Thankfully, local resident and very active volunteer Lawrence is here to help. On his blog Mental Mapping he has created a ‘virtual tour’ of Lewisham’s Rivers.
The tour takes in the rivers Ravensbourne, Quaggy and Pool along with their associated tributaries. You will get an idea of the flora and geomorphology along the rivers along with the type of great work the volunteers do.
If you are keen to get involved in volunteering along the rivers, keep an eye out on the following blogs, where we will post updates information about events you’ll be able to take part in – hopefully in the not too distance future!
Rivers and People
3 Rivers Clean Up
Friends of River Pool
Friends of Brookmill Park Talks
The Friends of Brookmill Park are putting on a series of really interesting talks on a number of environmental areas (Birds/Trees/ Flood mitigation etc).
Come along to informative talks on topics of local interest by outstanding speakers, kindly hosted by our friendly local – The Brookmill Pub.
When: Sunday evenings 6.30 for 6.45 start, finish 8.00
Tickets: £5.00 on the door
Location: The Brookmill Pub, 65 Cranbrook Road, SE8 4EJ
Please note talks take place in the upstairs room. Talks audio-recorded for anyone unable to use the stairs.
Proceeds go towards activities in the park.