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!
A few weeks back our volunteer team held a session clearing brambles and nettles from the bank at the bridge in Cornmill Gardens. Not only will this allow a wider variety of plants to grow in that space but also means that you can see more of the river from the path to the bridge.
A task that will carry over to November is de-silting and restoring the viewpoint to the backwater in Ladywell Fields (middle field- nr Malyons Road). After 2 hours of digging and clearing vegetation you can now see water once again in the backwater. The volunteer team will return again next week where the channel will be completely opened up and water will flow once again!
The January – March 2017 RBSM programme is now available. If you are new to the River Bankside Sessions, please check out our How to get Involved, FAQ and River Volunteering pages where hopefully you will find all the information that you need. If after reading this you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us. You can also read a little about the team that you’ll be working with.
The new River Bankside Management programme is now available. The volunteers will be continuing their work along the rivers, Pool, Quaggy and Ravensbourne. If you would like to join us, please read more about what we do on our volunteering page.
The river Ravensbourne rises, 4 miles south of Bromley town centre at Caesar’s Well in Keston. It then flows through the London Boroughs of Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich where it then joins the River Thames at Deptford, where its 1/2 mile muddy tidal reach is known as Deptford Creek. The Ravensbourne is 11 miles (17 km) in length with a total catchment area of 180 km2.
The Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Plan
The Catchment Improvement Plan was an initiative led by Thames 21 and supported by several partners, including Lewisham Council, to encourage those with an interest in their local rivers to express their views and have a say about the future of the River Pool, the River Quaggy and the River Ravensbourne. The project had a focus on getting local people more involved in their environment and help them to understand more about the rivers in their backyard. Following on from the two years of extensive consultation and the production of development document ‘The Vision’ in 2014, the Ravensbourne Catchment Partnership hosts Thames21 completed the Ravensbourne Catchment Plan in 2015.
Within the completed Plan is the Ravensbourne Project Schedule, which contains the main projects that are in progress, in planning or in development along the catchment. These projects are aimed at carrying on the great work that has gone before along the catchment such as the delivery of Sutcliffe Park, Chinbrook Meadows and Ladywell Fields regeneration projects, so that we can remove as much hard engineering as possible, create as many natural habitats as feasible and improve the public amenity value of our waterways without compromising our capacity in dealing with major rainfall events.
How you can help
The RCIG will continue to positively engage with the public by holding training days so that individuals can learn how to lead a river event or conduct water-quality testing. There is also an opportunity for your views to be raised at the RCIG meeting by contacting one of the RCIG partners.
However, if you feel your views are not represented by one of the existing partners please contact Lawrence Beale-Collins, the chair of the group, to discuss representing your group/organisation at the RCIG or to find other ways to become involved.
Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group
In 2012 Thames21 joined a range of partners from local community groups and charities to councils and government agencies to form the Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group (RCIG). This group is working to improve the rivers of the Ravensbourne Catchment for people and for wildlife.
The priority for the RCIG is to develop, promote and deliver the Vision and Catchment Plan for the Ravensbourne, Pool and Quaggy rivers.
The work of the RCIG is part of Defra and the Environment Agency’s ‘catchment-based approach‘(CaBA) to working with individuals and organisations that can make a difference to the health of England’s water environments. The catchment-based approach aims to deliver and raise awareness of the Water Framework Directive and what this means for our rivers, estuaries and coastal waters – which is EU legislation requiring improvements to water quality and the river environment.
Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group members
Thames21 is the RCIG ‘host’. Their role is to organise and coordinate the different members of the partnership, and drive Catchment Plan Project Schedule forward. Thames21 is also the initial contact point for any enquiries you may have.
Here is a list of RCIG partners: