Dates for your Diary!

2023 dates for the 3RiversCleanUp is 17th June – 15th July

The 3RiversCleanUp is an annual, intensive series of volunteering events that aims to improve and maintain the Rivers Pool, Quaggy and Ravensbourne that flow through Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley.  The events are organised by a unique partnership between the Environment Agency, environmental groups and local authorities.

The first 3RiversCleanUp took place in 2008 with the main aim to control the growth of Himalayan Balsam along the rivers. Himalayan Balsam is an invasive non-native plant that spreads quickly, clogging up river banks and reducing biodiversity. It shades and crowds native species and causes riverbank erosion, leading to an increase in the risk of flooding.

Volunteers are still needed to help maintain these valuable local spaces for people and wildlife.

Read more about the 3RiversCleanUp on the event’s website at https://3riverscleanup.co.uk/ and keep an eye out for more details!

Volunteer Sessions in December

As usual, the Rivers & People volunteers have been busy keeping the rivers in Lewisham in good shape! A day of bramble bashing at the backwater in Ladywell Fields South took the brash line back by about 2 meters, which is great not only for regaining the visibility of the river but also protects the meadow area from any encroaching bramble! All the cut bramble was bundled and used in a brash pile within the nearby woodland.

Bramble Bashing in Ladywell Fields

Further upstream in the River Ravensbourne volunteer Donna cleared all the litter and fallen twigs from the Turning Tree sculpture in the channel, look at transformation below!

Turning Tree sculpture in Ladywell Fields

A river wade and litter pick also took place in the Manor House Gardens stretch of the River Quaggy, although chilly it was a fantastic day to be in the river!

River wade in Manor House Gardens

Volunteer Sessions in November

The Rivers & People volunteers have been all across the borough this month despite the very wet weather. The volunteer team have opened up one of ponds in Chinbrook Meadows, by cutting back some of the overhanging willows and removing the encroaching sedge and grasses. They also got into the River Quaggy to unblock the channel from a fallen tree, the bankside volunteers then used the bras cutting to create a habitat pile further into the woodland.

The team also visited Brookmill Park to do a quick kick sample for the Riverfly Monitoring Partnership. Although it is later in the year it was interesting to find a selection of freshwater invertebrates such as caddisfly larvae, leeches, freshwater hoglouse, mayfly nymphs. After our short sampling session the volunteers worked to clear a section of the overgrown bramble on the bank, so that any park visitors using the pathway can now see the River Ravensbourne. We only clear half the sections in winter to keep some coverage for birds to forage in whilst maintaining a view of the river.

As a pre-festive period treat, you should visit your local blue space and see the wildlife that’s about. Black headed gulls, kingfishers and grey wagtails are common sights in ponds and on the river around the borough. If you do spot anything please do share your sightings with @GlendaleLew as we’d love to know!

Hello, introducing Emily!

Hello everyone!
This is just a short blog post introducing myself as the new nature conservation officer for Glendale Lewisham. With my appointment I can also share the good news that we will be restarting the Tuesday Rivers & People sessions from Tuesday 20th September at Brookmill Park. Booking for this session is essential- especially as we will need to bring you waders that fit!

Over the next few weeks I will be updating the webpages on this website, including adding the programme of sessions for the next quarter, and an updated volunteer form. If you have not volunteered with Rivers & People before and would like to join in the coming weeks, please do not hesitate to email me at Emily.Millhouse@glendale-services.co.uk and I will email you a volunteer form.

Hope to see you at a session soon!

Rivers Trust Spring Conference!

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The Rivers Trust Conference: Springing into Action
15th – 16th March 2022 
Our Conference agenda is now ready to view! 
We’ll be looking at the biggest topics in the water sector right now, examining key pollution and river management issues. River recreation is also on the agenda, with vibrant panel discussions on rights and access. We’re even bringing some culture to proceedings with poetic recordings kindly provided by Poets for the Planet – so there really is something for everyone.

Registration is Free so please share widely with your networks – we look forward to your participation and questions! Follow the links below to view the agenda in full, and to register via Eventbrite.
   
View the conference agenda  
Register now  
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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. 

Lewisham has a new biodiversity action plan!

Local councillors have voted to endorse the plan, the ‘Natural Renaissance’ for Lewisham, which will aim to do the following….

Supporting the installation of more green roofs in Lewisham, which are roofs where vegetation has been planted to boost biodiversity.

Working with landlords and other landowners to help them transform urban areas to provide habitats for local wildlife.

Reconnecting people with rivers and highlighting how safe access to rivers and an improved river corridor can provide a range of health, safety and environmental benefits.

Delivering at least 60 nature conservation volunteer sessions and 30 guided walks per year

Delivering 500 educational events for 8,000 local children every year.

Working with community art groups to enhance urban locations, such as tunnels, with biodiversity inspired art murals.

Providing practical advice to local residents on how they can enhance their private gardens and local areas to boost biodiversity.

To read more, follow this link:

https://lewisham.gov.uk/articles/news/creating-a-greener-lewisham-new-biodiversity-action-plan-endorsed